Kazakhstan: Animals in Shymkent zoo die due to food scarcity
Harsh winter and scant nourishment became the main reason for death of many animals in Shymkent zoo (Kazakhstan). Lamas, two eagles, one moufflon, and two endangered species, koulans, are left unaccounted for.
According to the zoo workers, its current budget is hardly sufficient to provide the basic food. Lion’s share of allotted 55 million and 178 thousand tenge ($1=120 tenge) is distributed as salary for zoo staff, comprised of over hundred people, and as payment for utility bills, whereas the remaining amount, which is less than 20 percent, goes for animals' food.
Even with the minimum norm of forty tons of meat per year, money is enough only for several months. This year the ration of many inhabitants of the zoo has became exceptionally scanty as a result of drastic rise in price of vegetables and fruits. Thus, instead of supposed pumpkin and carrots the zoo workers have to feed hippopotamus with supplementary artificial vitamins in an effort to avoid negative consequences.
Additionally, zoo cages and cells, which were constructed twenty eight years ago, apparently fail to meet international standard. Reconstruction is provided, but it is likely to take no less than three years, during which, however, the number of animals might decrease considerably.
Over the last decade many animals have died due to diseases and old age: American bison, buffalos, giraffe, hippopotamus, called Sultan, and its new-born daughter, Canadian wolf, lion, white bears, seals, flamingo, and foxes.
In 1980 Shymkent zoo had 264 species and 2000 animals in general, whereas by now it has decreased to 159 and 1287 respectively.
Nevertheless, sometimes visitors themselves unintentionally put lives of animals in danger. For example, veterinarians discovered sixteen polyethylene bags of “Sweet Corn” in a dead lama’s stomach.