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Evacuation effort for animals in flooded Far East zoo nears end — minister

September 02, 2015, 11:58 UTC+3 USSURIYSK
The operation is carried out in two stages. First, divers attach a cage with animals to a special cable system of a Mi-26 helicopter that later carries them to an open ground
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© TASS/Yuri Smityuk

USSURIYSK, September 2. /TASS/. The evacuation of all the animals trapped in the flood-stricken zoo in the Far Eastern city Ussuriysk is expected to be completed soon, Russia’s Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said on Wednesday.

The operation is carried out in two stages. First, divers attach a cage with animals to a special cable system of a Mi-26 helicopter that later carries them to an open ground. Then the animals are taken in cars to a ground near a former circus building, he said.

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.

"Each animal is provided with veterinarians’ assistance, and everyone has special food ration," Puchkov said. The local vets are consulted by Moscow experts on how to deal with animals under stress.

The minister has taken the situation at the zoo under his personal control. He criticized the zoo management for failing to have provided assistance to the animals immediately.

"Now a full-scale work has been launched," Puchkov said.

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.

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.

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