But the DWA says it considers the safety of its guests and the well-being of its animals "top priorities." Coover said: "We are an AZA-accredited zoological park, among only 10% of the approximately 2,400 animal exhibitors licensed by the USDA, and have maintained this accreditation since 1997."
It is true that there are many more unaccredited or "roadside" zoos in the U.S. than accredited zoos. But one could point out that there is a problem with this line of argument: Just because there's something worse out there, doesn't mean that this jaguar's life couldn't be better."I have since discovered the USA has some horrific roadside zoos where animals suffer a lot more than this panther," Bacon said. "However, that doesn't make it right."
A future for B'alam
B'alam was "born at a sanctuary in California, and was hand-reared here," according to Coover, who, at the time of publishing, was uncertain about which "sanctuary" it was, but it is unusual for births to occur at legitimate sanctuaries.
Meanwhile, a number of actual sanctuaries have come to Bacon, saying they could take B'alam out of the aquarium. "I've had a number of offers from sanctuaries who would take the animal," Bacon said, "but sadly the owner is clearly more interested in abusing animals for profit."
"He lives in a fishbowl," Wang said. "How would you feel if someone came up to your house and banged on the windows all day?"