Thursday, June 23, 2011

Animal Perestroika

... "New managers appointed in October [2010] said that nearly half of the [Kyiv] zoo's animals either died or mysteriously disappeared over two years under their predecessors, and a government audit found that thousands of dollars were misspent as animals were illegally sold and funds earmarked for their food and care disappeared.

Ukrainian prosecutors have also opened an investigation.

But despite the management change, the zoo's animals are still dying. Some activists suspect a secret real estate deal is in the works — that the zoo is being deliberately decimated so it can be closed down and the prime land that it sits on in the centre of Kiev can be sold.

Once the jewel of the Ukrainian capital and a favorite weekend spot for families, the zoo began to deteriorate after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and the years of poverty that followed. Animals were kept in cramped, poorly lit and poorly heated enclosures, fed improperly and left unattended, according to watchdogs.

The Kiev Zoo gained international notoriety in 2007 when it was expelled from the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria after the death of a female bear.

Officials have had a hard time determining exactly how many animals died or disappeared under the previous management. The zoo now has 2,600 animals from 328 species."

Source: Associated Press "Kiev zoo a 'concentration camp for animals'" March 23, 2011 via the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Photo credit: Ukrainian animal rights activists by the entrance to the Kyiv Zoo on Dec. 20, 2009. The protesters demanded an improvement in animal-keeping conditions at the zoo.

(c) UNIAN 2009. Copyright controlled.


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