02/20/06 Split Zoo of Horror Revokes, Zagreb Zoo Wishes to Move

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Animal Friends brings attention to the need for changes concerning Zoos in Croatia

After several years of complaints from several civic associations and many citizens to the public and authorities about the disastrous conditions in the Zoo of Split, it was decided that no more new animals could be accepted and all non-domestic animals would have to be moved.

The Split Zoo is a torture-chamber for animals and feelings of disgust were spreading beyond Croatia's borders, so this act was the last chance to save the animals and the city's reputation. There are over 400 animals and 55 animal species, and most of them in the next three month will need veterinary examinations and a new place to move, without any thoughts of building a new Zoo in Split, to which organizations as well as citizens oppose.

An even bigger shame for the capital Zagreb is the Zagreb Zoo, which occupies no more than 7 hectares with no possibility of expanding, and is exposed to big noise and other city conditions making it inappropriate for housing animals. The removal of the Zoo, which has to be transformed into a Zoo park, is inescapable if Zagreb cares at all about the confined animals and the reputation of the city.

Transforming Zoos into Zoological parks puts the focus on the wellbeing of the animals, not the visitor's, which at least to some extent would ease the life of those prisoners in their life-sentence.

The animals of the Zagreb Zoo need to be removed from the center of the city as soon as possible, given at least 20 times more space, and protected from noise and pollution, which would give those animals a slight taste of the freedom that was taken away from them, and would give the visitors the feeling of visiting nature instead of prison.

The unsustainability of existing Zoos also is proven by the example of the starving wolves in one private Zoo (the so-called "zoo-eko Marinici") who for six months had been waiting for rescue from certain death. The Zoo was closed by the Nature Protection Directorate of the Croatian Ministry of Culture due to its horrible conditions and its inability to cover the most basic needs of these animals and supply veterinary care.

The information about the successful removal of the last five wolves from that "horror" Zoo to Rome's shelter Biopark Foundation, where they have 1,600 square meters of space, shows that it is time to introduce new laws and permanent inspections, as well as to drastically increase care and education on wild animals.

The only thing that people will learn from Zoos is that holding animals in captivity is acceptable, where animals are bored to insanity, in narrow space, isolated, away from their natural habitats and therefore they express psychotic and autodestructive behavior. Managements of Zoos often spend money on the outward appearance of the Zoo and obtaining new attractive animals instead of improving the living conditions for the existing animals. This is why Zoos have to become history, whilst confining animals for human amusement has to vanish as a primitive habit which causes lives full of misery to nonhuman beings.

We hope that Croatia will soon have a new Animal Welfare Act which will strictly regulate the conditions of holding animals, also those in Zoos, and that Croatian cities will as soon as possible transform their Zoos into Zoo parks, showing their civilized development and ethical culture.



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