VLADIVOSTOK/KHABAROVSK, September 3. /TASS/. The evacuation of all the animals trapped in the flood-stricken zoo in the Far Eastern city of Ussuriysk has been completed, the city’s administration told TASS on Thursday.
"On September 3, at 1pm local time, the operation to evacuate animals from the private zoo located on the territory of the Green Island park has been completed. All 14 bears, a lion, wolf-dogs and a wild cat have been evacuated by Russian Emergencies Ministry’s rescuers," an administration spokesperson said.
"The last animals to leave their aviaries were three Himalayan bears that were transported to an open ground by boats by rescuers together with veterinarians, ecologists and zookeepers. After that, they were put into cages and transported to a temporary location," the ministry’s Far Eastern regional center told TASS.
The operation was carried out in two stages. First, divers attached a cage with animals to a special cable system of a Mi-26 helicopter that later carried them to an open ground. Then the animals were taken in cars to a ground near a former circus building.
A temporary accommodation facility has been also set up near the circus. Another point of destination is a local rehabilitation center for animals. The lion, called Grey, was the first zoo creature to have been airlifted there.
Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said Wednesday a new zoo could be built in the region and citizens should decide themselves on its location. "This should be a modern project," Puchkov said, adding that there is an initiative to start raising funds for the construction.
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 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.
No official information is available as to how many animals may have perished. The floods have reportedly claimed the lives of at least two bears, including the joy of local visitors, the she-bear Masyanya.