Law protects circus animals

Circuses in Portugal learnt in October that they would soon have to do without animals after a new law was enforced to stop the importation of wild animals into the country by the government.

Wild animals such as lions, tigers, monkeys and elephants, commonly used in circuses, were banned from being imported.

The new law, Portaria nº 1226/2009, was based on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and  Flora (CITES), signed in Washington on December 9, 1996, which “prohibits or conditions the detention or exploitation of determined live specimens for reasons other than the conservation of these species”.

The new law, which came into force on October 13, prohibits the purchase of thousands of wild animals and prohibits the reproduction of existing animals outside of licensed institutions such as zoos.

First lynx arrives in Silves reproduction centre

The first of 16 Iberian lynxes to make the Silves Iberian Lynx Reproduction Centre their new home arrived from Spain at the newly inaugurated centre on October 26.

Azahar, a female, was transported in a special box and was monitored by a veterinarian throughout her journey from the Jerez de la Frontera zoo in Spain to the Algarve.

Upon release in her new home, Azahar was agitated and showed signs of stress, including attempting to escape by climbing the fences of her enclosure, which technicians said was normal behaviour until she adapts to her surroundings.

By the end of Decem08ber, all 16 lynxes were settled into their new home in Silves, where they will be part of an Iberian reproduction programme to save the species.

Crime debate

Reports of hotels and tourists across the Algarve being targeted by robbers this year forced the civil governor to convene a meeting on October 17 to discuss the issue.

The rise in crime in the region led Elidérico Viegas, president of the association for hotels and tourist developments of the Algarve (AHETA), to speak out about the issue earlier that month.

He told national news agency Lusa that crime against tourists had increased exponentially in the Algarve by organised criminals.

He added that the hotel sector had also reported several cases of theft from hotel rooms, meaning that criminals are infiltrating hotels to “steal money or valuable items that are easily converted into money”.

The region’s security in general was discussed during a meeting at the civil government office in Faro and, according to the then Civil Governor Carlos Gomes, it was decided that the levels of crime registered throughout the year remain stable compared to previous years, especially with respect to violent crime.