VLADIVOSTOK, September 1. /TASS/. Kind-hearted citizens in Russia’s Far Eastern city Ussuriysk have brought honey and vodka to the bears in the flooded zoo, a spokesperson for the local city council said on Tuesday.
Over the past two days, public organizations and volunteers have also raised some 300,000 rubles ($4,500) to provide the distressed zoo inhabitants with food and treatment, the official told TASS.
The evacuation effort is due to continue early on Wednesday. This night the rescuers will be busy preparing for the operation. Powerful searchlights have been already installed across the territory, the ministry said.
Earlier in the day, the rescuers lifted by a helicopter a lion’s cage to a nearby former circus building. The facility is staffed by trained personnel and has cages adapted for a long stay, with water and food.
A local city council official told TASS: "The lion, called Grey, had been the bravest one. That's why we chose him for the first flight." The other animals will be evacuated on Wednesday "taken into consideration the recommendation of veterinarians."
By Tuesday morning, there was no water left in the cages that had been inundated for three days. Twenty creatures, mostly bears, remain in the flooded zoo. Rescuers are monitoring the animals’ health round the clock. The animals are given food, medicines and glucose.
The rescue effort at the zoo involves 78 people and 29 pieces of equipment, including seven boats and motor boats. The operation was suspended for a while as vets said the animals needed rest.
"Today nothing threatens the animals’ life," the head of the Ussuriysk city district administration, Yevgeny Korzh, told reporters.
Kremlin spokesman said earlier in the day President Vladimir Putin was aware of the situation in the Ussuriysk zoo.
Green Island animal park in Ussuriysk, flooded by heavy rain on August 30, was home to 39 animals, the smallest of the zoo's inhabitants evacuated first. Two criminal cases have been launched into alleged cruelty to animals. No information is available as to how many animals may have perished.