DENVER (KDVR) — Hundreds of exotic animals are now on their way to Colorado after being rescued from a shuttered zoo in Puerto Rico.

That zoo is closing following years of animal welfare complaints, leaving hundreds of animals in need of a new home.

“This zoo was not accredited, and it lost its USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) exhibitor license,” Bert Vescolani said. “It’s a rough situation.”

Vescolani and the Denver Zoo will be rescuing three of those animals, including a kangaroo, a stork and a porcupine. They’re expected to arrive at the zoo this weekend.

“Every single animal is important, and these will be no exception,” he said.

Bears and lions on the way

Vescolani said each animal will receive a medical checkup before meeting with a nutritionist and behavioral specialist to ensure a smooth transition. 

“Each of these animals, when they arrive here, will have gone through some level of journey,” he said. “And that’s really important for us to understand in their level of care.”

The re-homing of the animals is being done by Pat Craig, the founder of the Wild Animal Sanctuary outside of Keenesburg.

Staff there spent Friday anticipating the arrival of a handful of bears and lions, the first animals to arrive from the zoo.