Kiev Zoo Deaths

Recently in Kiev Ukraine, an Indian elephant, a camel, and a zebra have died. One death by itself may go unnoticed, but put together the three deaths are a sign of a much larger problem facing the Ukrainian cities zoo. Some animal groups allege that dozens or hundreds have died at the zoo within recent years, and suggest that there is a bigger reason between the deaths, and are pointing there fingers not just to the usual suspects of malnutrition, mistreatment, and lack of proper medical attention, but also suggesting that corruption is the root of the problem.

Some groups are calling for the 100 year old zoo to be closed completely closed, and have the animals sent to other facilities in Europe.  New managers who were appointed in October have reported that half of the animals either have died or disappeared in the last two years. Furthermore a government investigation has found reports of animals being illegally sold, and money meant to go for food and animal care have disappeared. In response, Ukrainian prosecutors have opened an investigation. There are other rumors however that the zoo is intentionally being run into the ground so that the real estate on which it lies can be sold, due to its prime location in the center of Kiev.


Of the other violations reported during the audit were the purchase of medication for dead animals, buying animals which were never sent, the illegal sale of 12 macaques, and money from zoo tickets, and funds for feeding zoo animals going missing.  This amount totals $200,000.  Prosecutors are opening an investigation into the allegations.


The zoo began to fall into disrepair after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 2007, it was removed from the European Union of zoos. Fifty animals have died since Tolstoukhov took control in November, although most of the deaths have been attributed to old age. The director further defends his record by saying that the zoo has not purchased any animals in recent years due to lack of money, and that 60 percent of the zoo’s animals are approaching the end of their natural life span. The director insists that there is no plans for selling the zoo, and ultimately like everyone else in Kiev hopes to create a zoo which has habitat which can be enjoyed by both the animals and the families who visit the zoo each day.


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