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Three bears await evacuation from flooded Far East zoo

September 02, 2015, 16:52 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Earlier on Wednesday, a total of 15 zoo inhabitants - 11 bears, a wild jungle cat and three wolf-dog hybrids - were evacuated
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© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MOSCOW, September 2. /TASS/. Three bears are awaiting evacuation from the flood-stricken animal park in Ussuriysk, in Russia’s Far East, the regional emergencies ministry said on Wednesday.

"The remaining three bears will be also taken to safety during the daylight hours on September 3," a spokesperson said.

Earlier on Wednesday, a total of 15 zoo inhabitants - 11 bears, a wild jungle cat and three wolf-dog hybrids - were evacuated. The lion, called Grey, was the first animal to be airlifted on Tuesday.

The king of beasts has been sent to a local rehabilitation center, Russia’s Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said earlier. "Some 24 hours after the evacuation, the lion feels fine and is in good health," the minister said.

Green Island animal park in Ussuriysk, flooded by heavy rain on August 30, was home to a total of 42 animals. Three zoo inhabitants have perished. Among them was the she-bear Masyanya, the joy of local visitors, earlier reports said.

The smallest of the zoo's inhabitants were evacuated first by police. The organized evacuation effort for the remaining animals began late on Monday. The operation was suspended for a while as vets said the animals needed rest. The creatures were given food, medicines and glucose. The evacuation resumed on Wednesday morning.

Most animals were evacuated by a Mi-26 helicopter. First, divers attached a cage with animals to a special cable system of the helicopter that later carried them to an open ground. The bear and the bear cub were taken to safety by a boat and then in cars.

The emergencies minister has criticized the zoo management for failing to have provided assistance to the animals immediately. A criminal case has been launched into alleged cruelty to animals.

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