Animal shelter facing the axe

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The animal protection shelter Arca de Noe (Noah’s Ark) which houses big cats such as lions and tigers, could soon be forced out of its current location. The centre’s concession expires on December 17 and representatives from the Alicante City Council’s Animal Protection Department have argued that it should not be extended.

For the last several years, Arca de Noe has had its headquarters in the El Roal building in Alicante City. It is a popular shelter which houses a variety of wild species, including large felines such as pumas.  

Now however, Alicante City’s Animal Protection councillor Marisol Moreno (Guanyar) has argued that Arca de Noe does not have the licences to carry out some of the activities which take place there. She has stated that the council is therefore “supporting an irregular situation.”

The authority has repeatedly tried to reclassify the Arca de Noe as a zoological park, but according to a report from the municipal veterinarian, it does not meet the requirements to receive this classification and has traditionally been viewed as an animal shelter.

Moreno has argued that Arca de Noe was created at a moment in time when there were no other facilities available in the area which could appropriately house these kinds of wild animals. She also pointed out that the shelter was initially intended to be temporary yet the big felines “have been there for seven years.” 

Moreno has argued that there are now more appropriate facilites such as the Prima Donus centre for primates and felines, located in Villena. 

The Arca de Noe has hit back, refuting suggestions that they do not have the necessary licences. 

The centre has also pointed out that over the years it has helped relocate many animals and that the big cats which have spent long periods of time in the centre are generally old and sick. 

Alicante City Council must now decide whether it intends to renew the contract. The city’s tripartite government is divided on the issue and although PSOE have shown their support for the Arca de Noe, other factions of the council are opposed. 

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