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VLADIVOSTOK, August 31. /TASS/. Police in Russia’s Far East have opened a criminal investigation into the death of animals trapped in a flooded private zoo in the town of Ussuriysk, a police spokesman said on Monday.
"The fact of cruelty that led to animals’ death has been confirmed," the spokesman said but did not specify how many animals died in the flooded zoo.
Under the Russian Criminal Code, animal cruelty is punishable with a fine of 80,000 roubles (some $1,200), corrective labor or up to one year in jail.
At the inundated zoo, 14 bears, three wolves, a lion, a swamp lynx and two boars are awaiting vets and rescuers to free them from the cages.
The zoo owner said he had evacuated six deer, three foxes, a wolf, two badgers and two cats.
Emergency services are bringing water and food to those cut off by the deluge. Evacuation of the animals is under orders from Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev, the regional press service told TASS.
Green Island is located some 100 kilometres from the far eastern port city of Vladivostok, where its own zoo is offering a new home for the animals still trapped by the waters.
Sergey Asnovin, Vladivostok zoo head, told TASS on Monday: "The animals did not sleep and eat for several days. They are exhausted," he said, watching events. "We are ready to place the animals in our zoo.".