Animals fatally poisoned in Crimean zoo

16:46, 13 April 2009
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More than 10 animals in three weeks

More than 10 animals in a zoo in the Crimean resort city of Yalta have died in a suspected case of deliberate poisoning, the zoo owner said on Monday, RIA Novosti reported.

"In three weeks we have had more than 10 carcasses. This has ceased to be only our tragedy. The zoo, a part of Ukraine`s nature reserve fund, is losing its collection," Oleg Zubkov said.

The animals in the Skazka (Fairy Tale) zoo started dying on March 23. The first to die was a chimpanzee named Charlik, who had lived in the zoo for more than 10 years.

Among the dead were also two lynxes, two pumas, two Himalayan black bears, a wolf and a Pekinese dog.

Chief veterinarian Maria Miroshnichenko said the dead animals "had severe pains in their stomachs and intestinal tracts, and enlarged livers," showing that they were poisoned.

The zoo owner has promised to pay $12,500 to anyone who identifies people linked with the poisoning. He also said the zoo will continue its work despite the deaths, and that security will be tightened.

Zubkov said several people had earlier threatened to poison the animals, and are being treated as suspects.

RIA Novosti

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