Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kiev Zoo Compared to Concentration Camp

Fox DC: An Indian elephant called Boy, the pride of the Kiev Zoo, collapsed and died in his enclosure. Around the same time, Maya the camel succumbed to a digestive illness and Theo the zebra died after crashing into a metal fence.

And there's more, much more.

The animals just keep on dying at the Kiev Zoo, a place one activist has likened to a concentration camp for those with fur and feathers. Animal welfare groups say dozens if not hundreds of animals have died at the zoo in recent years due to malnutrition, a lack of medical care and mistreatment -- and some suspect that corruption is at the heart of the problem.

Naturewatch, a British-based animal welfare group, is among the organizations calling for the 100-year-old zoo to be closed and its animals sent elsewhere in Europe.

"The Kiev Zoo will never attain any basic standards, it's so far removed from any zoo in Europe," said John Ruane of Naturewatch. "The conditions have been absolutely horrendous and no matter how many more directors were appointed the situation still remained the same."

New managers appointed in October said that nearly half of the 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.

Other violations included the purchase of medication for already deceased apes, paying for hyenas that were never shipped to the zoo, the illegal sale of 12 macaques, the unrecorded sale of zoo tickets and the misallocation of funds earmarked for feeding zoo animals. The violations totaled 1.6 million hryvna ($200,000 or euro140,000), according to Irina Parkhomenko, spokeswoman for the government auditing agency.

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