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Safari Park Zoo is shut down in Fier, Albania 

17.10.2018

#NoMoreFierZoo – FOUR PAWS evacuates wild animals from 'Europe's worst zoo'

Update 28.10.2018: We have evacuated eleven neglected wild animals from the Safari Park Zoo in Fier in coooperation with the Albanian Ministry of Tourism and Environment

For safety reasons, the owner of the Safari Park Zoo was not warned in advance that the wild animals would be confiscated. An international team of veterinarians as well as a special unit of the Albanian police supervised the rescue mission. In a dramatic moment, the police broke the entrance gate to give the rescue team of almost twenty people access to the zoo.

"What we saw was shocking... dirty little concrete enclosures with dejected animals inside. The animals are all in bad condition."

Dr. Marc Gölkel, IZW Berlin veterinarian

First stop: Tirana Zoo

The top priority was to get the animals to a safe place as quickly as possible. FOUR PAWS temporarily transferred the three lions, the three-legged bear, the zebra, fox, waterbuck, red deer and the three fallow deer to the zoo in Tirana where new enclosures for the rescued animals were waiting. Originally, twelve wild animals were on the FOUR PAWS rescue list – but the tortoise was untraceable. As soon as the animals have recovered, we will transfer them to sanctuaries appropriate to their species.

"We're glad that we got these animals out of this rundown prison. A big thank you goes to the Albanian government that made this mission possible."

Ioana Dungler, Director of the FOUR PAWS Wild Animals Department

Zebra dies after transfer

As part of routine procedure, the team of veterinarians sedated the zebra and loaded him onto a horse trailer for transportation. During the trip he was fully conscious, however the zebra died unexpectedly shortly after being released into an enclosure at Tirana Zoo. There is always a residual risk when using anaesthesia – especially if the animal has been kept in poor conditions. Sedation and the two-hour transfer were obviously too much for the weakened zebra. We are all devastated that we were unable to give more help to this poor animal.

Update 17.10.2018: Horrific conditions in the ‘zoo out of hell’ but after years of pressurizing authorities, there is finally hope

FOUR PAWS detected the Safari Park Zoo Fier in Albania years ago and we have investigated this private zoo several times already. Here, a number of wild and domesticated animals are kept in terrible conditions. While FOUR PAWS and other animal welfare activists documented the apalling situation of these animals several times, it was clear that nothing could be done. In this case, human kindness was overruled by legislation. 

We were forced to wait on the sidelines, monitor the situation and wait for an opportunity to step in. And now, at last, a ray of hope has appeared on the horizon: the horrific Fier Zoo may be shut down. Finally, a better future for the animals seems within reach!

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#NoMoreFierZoo

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"Signs of the mental and physical impact of being kept in such abject surroundings are clearly shown by each of the poor animals in the zoo. If something is not done soon, these animals will continue to suffer and most likely die in these unspeakable conditions."

Ioana Dungler, Director of the FOUR PAWS Wild Animals Department

Ray of hope

We are working hard to prepare whatever is needed to make this option a reality. It is a complex and risky case, and we are doing everything we can to bring the animals to safety as soon as possible. We need your support and will keep you posted here and on Facebook.

Urgent need to act

Fast action is needed, as changes to legislation and the facility's obviously dire economic situation (no visitors) could result in the animals being sold or even killed! The Albanian Ministry of Tourism and Environment is aware of the situation at the zoo and has expressed its willingness to provide support, but FOUR PAWS must deliver a solution for the animals. While waiting for a green light to act, we are preparing everything required for the rescue mission.

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#NoMoreFierZoo

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