When two former veterinarians filed a scathing complaint against the world-renowned Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica in Cahuita, it sent shockwaves through the rescue center that founder Judy Avey-Arroyo began 24 years ago.
Costa Rica's Simón Bolivar Zoo has been a lightning rod for animal rights activists, and in fact it can be a depressing place. Yet with new laws poised to change the landscape of wildlife management in Costa Rica, it's a complicated situation with no easy solution.
A first tiny cub - pink, hairless and only about the size of an adult mouse - was born at 5:35 pm (2135 GMT) Saturday and Mei Xiang reacted by tenderly picking up it up. Just when conservationists thought they had heard all the good news, the zoo tweeted: "We can confirm a second cub was born at 10:07. It appears healthy. #PandaStory."
Chila's baby is the first ocelot born in captivity here and reason for boasting. Ocelots are on the endangered species list; these small spotted cats are losing ground as their territory is given over to encroaching urban life.
Animal rights activists are celebrating the Environment Ministry's decision to close Costa Rica's two public zoos next May. However, zoo administrators are not going out without a fight and plan to take the case to court.