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Greens demand closure of all zoos

lioness with eye infection melios zoo
File photo showing a lioness with an eye infection at a Cypriot zoo in 2016.

The Green Party on Tuesday demanded the closure of all zoos operating in Cyprus, both private and government-run.

“Complaints regarding the operation of zoos in Cyprus are constant – almost daily,” the Greens said in a statement released on Tuesday. The latest complaints concerned the poor condition of the animals in the zoo in Agioi Trimithias.

“The public complaints all reference the miserable and depressed state of animals kept in captivity under unsuitable conditions,” the party said.

The Greens’ statement points to the European Union directive concerning the operation of zoos (Directive 1999/22/EC of the Council), which aims to preserve biodiversity on the understanding that suitable infrastructure (shelter and qualified staff) is provided.

The EU also allows zoos to be maintained for the purpose of observing relationships between species, research and public education, but according to the directive, animals must live in a safe environment similar to their natural habitat, in which they can express all their natural behaviours.

Anthi Mouzouri, coordinator of the Greens’ animal protection service, said that taking into account the prevailing conditions in Cyprus, where there was limited expertise in wild animal management, a lack of monitoring of EU directive implementation by the veterinary services, and the intense weather, the only solution was the complete abolition of zoos.

“Animals should live freely in nature and we should not capture them for any reason. We demand once again the closure of the zoos and the preservation of the rights of animals,” Mouzouri said.

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