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FOUR PAWS evacuates wild animals from “Europe's worst zoo”



   On 28th October 2018, international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, together with the Albanian Ministry of Tourism and Environment, evacuated eleven neglected wild animals from the Safari Park Zoo in Mbrostar in Fier County, Albania. An international team of veterinarians as well as a special command of the Albanian police supervised the rescue mission. FOUR PAWS brought the animals – including three lions and a three-legged bear – temporarily to a zoo in Albania’s capital Tirana. As soon as the animals have recovered, FOUR PAWS will transfer them to species-appropriate sanctuaries.


   Due to safety reasons, the owner of Safari Park Zoo was not informed in advance about the confiscation of the wild animals. In a dramatic turn of events, the police had to break the entrance gate to give the almost 20-person FOUR PAWS rescue team access to the zoo. “What we saw was shocking: dirty little concrete enclosures with desolate animals inside. The animals are all in bad conditions. Lenci the lion suffers from a proliferation on the conjunctiva of his left eye that needs to be treated. The three-legged female bear Dushi is very emaciated and has clear behavioural disorders," says veterinarian Marc Gölkel, who was part of the FOUR PAWS rescue team.


FOUR PAWS has been investigating the Safari Park Zoo since December 2015. Due to legal regulations, however, it has never been possible to intervene. Photos from inside the Albanian zoo appeared in mid-October 2018 and led to an outcry at home and abroad after the images showed the terrible living conditions of the animals. International media called the Safari Park Zoo "Europe's worst zoo" and "Zoo from Hell".


   The international rescue team included experts from Austria, Albania, Germany, Kosovo, Romania and  a team from Dancing Bears Park Belitsa.



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