A press conference on “Gyumri Private Zoo Animals. The Current Situation and the Future Plans” was organized on the initiative of the Foundation for Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) in “Armenpress” news agency press club on February 25.
The list of the speakers taking part in the press conference included FPWC Founder Ruben Khachatryan, Deputy Minister of Nature Protection Khachik Hakobyan, the Director of the Peak Wildlife Park (Central England) Colin MacDougall, and James Folden, representing Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS).
“I am pleased to start the event sharing a piece of good news with you; an excellent solution for the problem with the animals that had appeared in deplorable conditions in Gyumri private zoo has been found due to the well-coordinated efforts of FPWC, Worldwide Veterinary Service and other national and international partners”, mentioned the Deputy Minister of Nature Protection. Mr. Hakobyan also noted that in addition to responding swiftly to the problem raised, the RA Ministry of Nature Protection initiated the improvement of the legislation involving relevant state agencies, public sector representatives and international experts.
“The article about Gyumri private zoo published in the British “The Daily Mail” newspaper cast a shadow over Armenia, revealing a problem which is unfortunately still critical for our country. The article caused a strong international response, though the FPWC had started cooperating with the Armenian Environmental Network and the RA Ministry of Nature Protection undertaking relevant steps aimed at solution of the problem before it had appeared in the newspaper. With the financial support from the Fondation Brigitte Bardot, the bears are transported to Yerevan Zoo from where they will be transported to Romania after the quarantine period is over. The lions are now kept in a newly founded quarantine station in the Caucasian Wildlife Refuge and in the upcoming months they will be transported to the Peak Wildlife Park”, FPWC Founder Ruben Khachatryan stated. “It is important to note that this is not just a one-time initiative. Our partners saw the urgency of the problem and expressed their willingness to support us in establishing the quarantine station, which is a part of a larger and extremely important project, the establishment of the Wildlife Rescue Centre”, he stressed.
The director of the Peak Wildlife Park Mr. Colin MacDougall remarked that they had responded to the article published in “The Daily Mail” immediately and contacted the WVS offering to provide a refuge for the animals.
«WVS gave an immediate response to the situation. In collaboration with the FPWC and Pro Paws Charity our team was implementing a dog sterilization project in the Yerevan Zoo vet clinic. They left for Gyumri instantly to assess the situation. A crowdfunding campaign was launched: 6000 EUR were donated by the International Animal Rescue, and donations from all around the world totaled to 29,000 EUR”, WVS representative James Holden clarified. “This is the first step in a much longer partnership with the FPWC. This is not one time project; we will have our presence here as we have in other parts of the world. We hope that the Wildlife Rescue Center in Armenia will address the existing issue sustainably”, he summarized.
The construction of the quarantine station in the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge is currently in progress. In the result of cooperation between a number of national and international institutions an infrastructure unique not only for Armenia, but also for the whole region will be established in the territory of the privately protected area of the FPWC, where the animals appearing in vulnerable situation will be provided with appropriate treatment and care otherwise sent to relevant international refuge centers.