Author`s name Ольга Савка

Abandoned zoo animals freeze to death

Four animals of a mobile zoo died of starvation and cold in Russia's Vladimir region

A tragedy has recently occurred in the town of Murom, Russia's Vladimir region. Three people of the personnel and animals of the zoo circus Fauna have been left to the mercy of fate, when the director of the circus disappeared. The animals had to spend a week in their cages in freezing weather. Exhaustion and cold killed a camel, a wolf, a bobcat and a tiger. Murom residents saved other animals from starvation.

The arrival of the zoo circus became quite an important event for Murom. There is no zoo in the city, but the zoo circus gave children and their parents a chance to see wild animals. There was a bobcat, a couple of tigers and lions, camels, bears, monkeys, horses, ponies and exotic birds in the circus.

”The circus was really large - there were about 15 wagons in it. It was a great experience for children, because they could ride a pony there and take a picture of themselves with monkeys. However, the circus gave just a few shows, and then everything went quiet there. One could see that the animals were in there, although the people just vanished,” town resident Svetlana Smolova told the Izvestia newspaper.

It became known later that the zoo circus director disappeared. The animals were left for two boys, who could not speak Russian, and a man, who was taking care of the animals. The man told local residents that the director had left for Moscow, but the man did not know if he was coming back or not.

When there was no food left for the animals, a group of Murom residents addressed to the town administration. The authorities achieved an agreement with a local meat factory to supply meat for the predators. Local farmers brought some mixed fodder and hay for horses, ponies and monkeys.

When the food arrived, four animals – a camel, a tiger, a wolf and a bobcat – had already died. “The animals were highly exhausted. The camel was very unhealthy – the animal was very skinny, just skin and bones. Other animals suffered a lot too. A tiger had its nose frozen – I think the animal injured the nose, when it was hitting it against the ice-cold bars, asking for food,” Vladimir Novikov, the director of a local vet station said.

The zoo of the city of Voronezh agreed to house several animals of the Fauna circus, although other animals' fate is not known yet. A spokesman for the Murom administration told the Izvestia that the authorities had ordered to supply the circus with petrol. The spokesman, however, declined comments about the director of the unfortunate circus. The website of the Federal Agency for Culture says that Fauna is based in the Moscow region. It is not ruled out that the circus will return to its quarters.

It was not the first incident that occurred to the Fauna circus. The circus toured the city of Cherepovets in January of 2003. A local newspaper wrote at that time that animals were living in open unheated cages in freezing weather, when it was 20 degrees below zero.

Mobile zoo owners usually use either sick or old animals. They buy them at very low prices and make money on animals without taking great care of them. As rule, no one cares about living conditions for such animals.

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