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VLADIVOSTOK, September 1. /TASS/. Army specialists, rescuers, veterinarians, and volunteers arrived at dawn on Tuesday at the Zelyony Ostrov (Green Island) zoo in the Far Eastern city of Ussuriysk to begin evacuation of animals from the zoo’s fully flooded territory.
The Green Island was flooded by the virtually torrential showers that poured down on the Primorsky (Maritime) territory of Russia on Sunday, August 30. It is still not know exactly how many animals died in the flood.
It is known, however, that the floodwaters claimed the lives of at least two bears, including the joy of local visitors, the she-bear Masyanya.
Local police managed to evacuate smaller and medium-sized animals back on Sunday in portable cages but evacuation of big animals could not be started until Monday night.
Reports on the situation in the flooded zoo prompted the plenipotentiary representative of the Russian President in the Far-Eastern Federal District, Yuri Trutnev, to intervene and take the evacuation efforts under personal control.
The operation began on 05:00 hours on Tuesday with the loading of a special mechanic-arm mechanism into a floating craft. It was used later to hoist the cages with animals and moving them to a secure place, a spokesman for the city administration told TASS.
Specialists from the city veterinarian service were present on the spot, since some of the overstressed animals needed tranquilizers to calm down.
Most of the animals were moved to the premises of the Primorsky Agricultural Academy, which is also located in Ussuriysk. The academy’s staff and students assisted the evacuation from the very beginning of the operation.
Experts said it was not immediately clear how much time might be needed for the animals to get over their stress. Many nature conservation organizations including the Amur Tiger Center offered assistance in ensuring correct food rations for the animals.