Shymkent Zoo, which in recent years is known only because of scandalous events, once again turned out to be in the spotlight, but this time on the threshold of the world specialized exhibition Astana EXPO 2017. The menagerie,which a few years ago started to expand, but not completed, was visited by journalists of “Liter" newspaper, who titled their article ”Zoo: reconstruction without end and edge?”.
"There are only three menageries in the country, and the Shymkent one 37 years ago was planned for further growth and expansion. That is why the grandiose territories - 54 hectares - were originally allocated for the zoo, and more than four years ago, expansion and reconstruction in the zoo really started. Only now the end of it is not in sight. Seidulla Zhubayev, the previous director of the zoo, who left his post after a series of scandalous exposures and several deceased inhabitants, promised that the result of the renovation will be seen at the International Exhibition EXPO 2017. He predicted more than 100 thousand people. But its 2017 already and a little over a month before the EXPO starts, what has changed in the zoo and why does the zoo work less and less satisfy Shymkent residents? The question is not rhetorical, so in order to get the answer they had to go to the zoo, first talk with the management, and only then in a private,” the authors of the material explain.
Journalists point out that over the past two years, about ten animals have died one by one. These are just those, the edition reports, which became known to the public, because with each next visit to the zoo, with disappointment, new empty cells appear.
"From the most recent losses - the death of the 26-year-old visitors favourite, Lambada, a female hippopotamus. For almost a month, journalists were trying to find out what the hippopotamus died from. We were sent for comments to the veterinarians who were doing the autopsy, who in turn were sending us back to the management of the zoo. Finally, because apparently it was no longer possible to delay the response, the local veterinarian was sent to be torn apart by the media, who confessed that Lambada died of obesity and cancer, in other words, the poor animal died from hypodynamia, because it could not even turn around in its aviary. If taking into account, that for many years she lived separately from a male in a former crocodile aviary, which was not designed for a large hippopotamus, and a year and a half after the appearance of her daughter Gloria and shared this little cage for two, then the scale of the disaster becomes more understandable,” the author writes.
Hippos were visited by journalists together with the director of the zoo, Nurgazy Bukharbayev, who is also a Deputy of the city Maslikhat of Shymkent and Zulfiya Ganiyeva, the Deputy for Science.
"On the way, the director says that the hippo could get sick from the lack of heating in the winter aviaries. He says that before his arrival, animals laid directly under the ice crust in cold water in winter. It turns out that the surviving male hippo Sultan and little Gloria in addition to being a dad and a daughter to each other, are also brother and sister. Inbreeding, or closely related relationships, is the constant problem of zoo animals.With the introduction of a new little hippo, new hippopotamuses are planned to be bought here to get healthy offspring, but for now animals are still in old cages,” the edition shares.
The author of the article notices the fact that visitors constantly feed the left without mom little Gloria, and baby hippo has already become trustful and tame.
"The trustful female hippo takes everything with gratitude and again opens the toothless mouth in anticipation of a new portion of refreshment.The inscription on the cages “Do not feed the animals!” does not stop anyone. The director with a deputy does not rush to disperse the crowd, although they immediately recall that animals often die, after eating cellophane packages,” the media writes.
As the director of the zoo explains, it’s impossible to keep track of all visitors.
"They are kind, they eat everything that is thrown, sometimes together with the bags. Recently, the deer fell down, although it was already quite old, we found three kilograms of cellophane in his stomach, in his bowels. He wasn’t able to eat anything, and in the past year pony died - the same thing: a rock formation was found inside and cellophane. Also, the lama died the year before last, the same thing: visitors throw whatever they like there,” Bukharbayev said.
The head of the zoo complained about the lack of employees. He argues that over the past 10 years, the staff has shrunk by almost half.
"If 10 years ago we had 212 employees, it is now 138. If we had fifteen hundred animals ten years ago, now it is 2500. You can imagine the shortage of employees. I wrote hundred times that the regulation on the manning table of the zoo staff is not approved, so the Budget Code can not provide the employees to the zoo. The fault is in the flaw of legislation,” the director said.
The entrance fee to the zoo is ridiculous 22 tenge 60 tiyn (0.07 US cents at the current rate) - the minimum tax. The problem that arose last year, and which was promised to be solved “for a couple of months" has so far remained.
"Perhaps that's why attractions park was established here in order to at least somehow support the zoo," the author writes.
The visitors more than once were complaining about the close proximity of the noisy carrousels to the cells of animals - the carrousels, zoo visitors believe, interfere with the serenity of the animals. However, the director does not agree with this opinion.
"This is a public recreation area for people, we did an experiment, animals do not react to noise, they did not fall into depression, they did not stop eating or giving birth, they did not start to die," jokes the director of the zoo and explains why the zoo has so many tenants whom he prefers to call assistants. They provide sponsorship services. It’s not exactly a rent. We desperately need this. One drinks-booth gives us 20 thousand a month and attractions 250-300 thousand. This goes to paint, brooms, sockets. If there are no funds for sockets and brooms in the budget, then for the grandiose reconstruction here, millions are not gonna be allocated regularly either,” Bukharbayev complains.
In the last 4 years to create a zone of Africa, as well as gas supply, sewerage and water supply run has been spent and a half billion tenge, the funds have been allocated but the works were not fully implemented. The same part of the work that was put, raises serious criticism.
"According to the development concept, the construction of an elephant, a monkey and a lion aviary is planned, and, certainly, the purchase of animals. This year alone, 50 million tenge has been allocated. Shymkent zoo has never had the African giants. The average cost of an elephant is about $ 100,000, the gorilla costs the same, orangutans are cheaper, chimpanzees and hippos - an average of $ 50-60 thousand. However, the purchase of anthropoid apes under international law will take more than two years. The funds have been allocated - 608 million tenge - for reconstruction of the terrarium, construction of giant lizard and turtle aviary, as well as the aviary for birds of prey and suricates” the newspaper writes.
The construction progress of the last one, the author of the article witnessed herself.
"The excavator was barbarously breaking up the young green trees in this area while workers hurriedly milled the fence around to hide what was happening from prying eyes. The sight, I confess, was terrible. I immediately called the director, and he explained that there is no other way to free space of the greenery : there is neither equipment, nor place for transplanting “ sums up the journalist Irina Abramova.
Photos - Tengrinews.kz.
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