Close Zoo Accused of Keeping Animals in Filthy, Unsafe Cages

Target: Gema Igual, Mayor of Santander, Spain

Goal: Close zoo where a seal was allegedly discovered encased in seaweed and a sea lion was reportedly found dead.

Earlier this week, images surfaced of a seal that was so neglected that its body was covered in seaweed and algae. The photos appear to show a seal sitting in a greenish pool, in water that is semi-opaque and looks as though it hasn’t been cleaned recently.  The seal looks to be completely covered in seaweed, with plant matter coating it like a straight-jacket, getting in its eyes and impacting its ability to move. In the images, the seal looks close to death.

When this photo surfaced, it sparked outrage among local animal rights activists who demanded the zoo close. These demands went unanswered. The local city council did nothing to address the abuse that their zoo had been accused of, and when asked about it, the mayor said the animal was not part of an exhibit.

Since these photos surfaced, more photos have also come to light of other animals allegedly being neglected in the same zoo, including reports of a sea lion being held in a cage with no water and most troubling of all, a photo that seems to show a dead sea lion half covered by a bag left out in the open.

Reports such as these are deeply troubling; animals facing this level of neglect rarely survive without some sort of intervention. Animals kept in captivity are at the complete mercy of the people charged with their care. To treat the creatures entrusted to you in this way is disgraceful and inhumane. There must be repercussions for this type of cruelty. Sign this petition today, demanding the Magdalena Mini Zoo be closed permanently.


Dear Mayor Igual,

The Magdalena Mini Zoo has come under fire for the allegations of heinous animal abuse. Photos appearing to show a dead sea lion, a seal encased in seaweed, and a sea lion living in a container without water suggest that this zoo conducts itself in a way that is deeply harmful to the animals trapped within it.

These troubling reports of rampant neglect demand that this zoo be immediately closed. It is shameful that abuse such as this is happening at all, but it is especially troubling to see it happen in a tourist town, where these practices can be normalized and spread.

Zoos should be places where animals are well cared for, where they surpass the life expectancy of their wild cousins. With all of the technology and resources that Santander has, it is inexcusable to have animals living in such abhorrent conditions. Please reconsider your stance on this issue and take action today. Demand that the Magdalena Mini Zoo face investigation, and if the allegations are true it must close immediately.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: anitaajblom



  1. Jose Espino says:

    A good reason to close a zoo is simply because it violates the animal rights to freedom. Perhaps a wild animal with an impairment could be kept in captivity as a humane gesture but be sure that such animal should get the same treatment as if a human being would be in it’s place. After all the only difference is the difference in appearance and perhaps the higher level of intelligence one of the two possesses, which sometimes is hard to tell.



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