The owner of a sickening wildlife refuge where emaciated lions are so hungry they chew their own tales has gone on the run, it has emerged.
Heartbreaking footage from the Black Jaguar-White Tiger Foundation, based in Tlalpan in Mexico City infuriated animal lovers around the world.
Now the actor activist who revealed the cruelty has told how the owner Eduardo Mauricio Moises Serio has apparently disappeared.
A stream of animal rights groups have reported the centre – which claims to rescue animals from harsh conditions at breeding centres and circuses – to the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA).
One – AZCARM – accused foundation owner Eduardo Mauricio Moises Serio of “abandoning and mistreating hundreds of big cats”.
Activist Yael Ruiz first reported the foundation to the authorities after working there for two years.
Actor and animal activist Arturo Islas Allende told Newsflash: “The place is now under the control of the authorities, the owner is a fugitive from justice, he has not appeared anywhere.
“We have just had a meeting with the Mexico City authorities so veterinarians can start rescuing the emaciated animals.
“The foundation did not have the correct papers or legal permits, the reality is it was completely clandestine.”
Horrified inspectors have found pits with what they believe are the bones and remains of more than 200 big cats.
Arturo Islas Allende said: “There are pits with the bones of buries animals.
“The foundation said they had 400 felines, yesterday a count was carried out with the authorities and only between 180 and 190 are accounted for, less than half of them.”
The actor, who alleged that the owner illegally sold lion, tiger, jaguar and leopard cubs, also claimed that employees have not been paid for months.
Allende’s harrowing video of big cats at the refuge shows some so weak they can no longer stand.
Others appear to have agonising sores along their bodies.
He added: “The owner also did not pay the rent and has outstanding bills of around MXN 1 million (GBP 40,612).
“The foundation received millions of dollars in donations that did not reach the animals and is linked to tax evasion.
“The breeding of cubs was ongoing.
“The reality is, the foundation placed animals in the hands of buyers and, over time, they became a problem for the customers and we sent back to the same cages.”
The investigation continues.