IQUITOS, Peru (AP) – More than three dozen animals rescued from Peruvian circuses and traffickers have a new home in a jungle island sanctuary.
The 39 monkeys, South American coatis and kinkajous — also known as honey bears — were flown from Lima to the northern city of Iquitos over the weekend on a Peruvian air force transport.
From there, the animals were loaded on boats and taken up the Rio Nanay to a private sanctuary at Pilpintuwasi, where they were released into large fenced enclosures.
The animals are accustomed to human contact and feeding and could not be released into the wild.
The animals will be evaluated individually to determine whether they can eventually be released into the wild, said Jose Rafael Vilar, regional spokesman for the British charity Animal Defenders International, which organized the action.
A 2011 Peruvian law for which Animal Defenders International lobbied prohibits the use of wild animals in circuses.
The charity also has taken in big cats, including lions, from Peruvian circuses. They are to be sent to the United States.