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VLADIVOSTOK, September 2. /TASS/. Five more animals - four bears and a lion - have been evacuated from the flood-stricken zoo in Ussuriysk, in Russia’s Far East, the local emergencies ministry said on Wednesday.
"As of 10.00 a.m. local time [midnight GMT] a helicopter evacuated from the zoo one cage with three bears, and a little bear cub is being transported in a car," a spokesperson said.
Late on Tuesday, a lion’s cage was airlifted to safety from the animal park. 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 remaining 19 animals are due to be evacuated later on Wednesday.
The water level receded significantly overnight and there is now no water in the cages.
A doctor taking part in the rescue effort said all the animals are provided with the necessary medical assistance. "A veterinarian monitors their health regularly, and the animals are given food and could have a rest at night," Irina Korotkova said.
The cages with animals are expected to be placed on a specially protected ground.
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. Two criminal cases have been launched into alleged cruelty to animals. No information is available as to how many animals may have perished.
Early on September 1, the evacuation effort for the remaining animals began. The operation was suspended for a while as vets said the animals needed rest. The creatures were given food, medicines and glucose.