Albania: 11 animals rescued from zoo

Authorities in Albanian dismantled a private zoo Sunday to save 11 animals, including lions, a zebra and a bear, who were kept in “hellish” living conditions, according to NGOs.

The zoo located hundred kilometers south of Tirana refused to allow athorities to enter. Police eventually broke down the doors, allowing veterinarians to access to the animals and prepare them for transportation to the Tirana Zoo.

“The living conditions of the animals in this zoo are absolutely horrible […], it is an infernal way to keep animals,” said Ioana Gabriela Dungler, a leader of the international defense organization Vier Pfoten (Four Legged) animals.

“They are all unhappy, they all show signs of physiological distress. Given the hygienic conditions, they all have serious health problems, “says Jeta Lepaja, of the same organization, who deplores the absence of any” imitation of the natural habitat “of these animals in the establishment.

Petrit Osmani, the owner of the zoo, who opened about fifteen years ago, strongly protested against the action of the authorities.

“You do not have the right! These animals are my children, you deprive me of my children! He protested. He said he would file a complaint for violation of private property.

The zoo was visited in July by representatives of the Four Paws organization, who sounded the alarm.

“Lensi [one of the three lions] had a serious eye infection and was at risk of becoming blind. Fortunately he has been saved and is doing better, but they all need extra care to be fully recovered, “said Carsten Hertwing, another organization leader.

Besides the three lions, Lensi, Jeaque and Bobi, about fifteen years old, a zebra, a bear, as well as several deer, antelopes and foxes shared the same fate.

After a temporary passage through the zoo of Tirana where they will be treated, the three lions will be transported to the Netherlands to be placed in an establishment imitating their natural habitat. The bear will be welcomed in Germany.

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