Bratislava’s wild animal hospital closes in September

BRATISLAVA Zoo’s hospital for injured or sick wild animals will be closed down in September. It has been operating provisionally at the Zoo but Miloslava Šavelová, the zoo’s director, told the ČTK newswire it does not have the money or necessary facilities to continue operating, adding that the state Environment Ministry has been asked to help several times since last year.

An iguana was one of the animals saved by the hospital.An iguana was one of the animals saved by the hospital. (Source: ČTK/AP)

BRATISLAVA Zoo’s hospital for injured or sick wild animals will be closed down in September. It has been operating provisionally at the Zoo but Miloslava Šavelová, the zoo’s director, told the ČTK newswire it does not have the money or necessary facilities to continue operating, adding that the state Environment Ministry has been asked to help several times since last year.

Slovaks have been bringing birds that have been shot, young birds that have fallen from nests, poisoned hedgehogs, injured squirrels and other kinds of protected animals to the facility since the beginning of the 1990s.

“Enough makeshift solutions! We need proper conditions so that we can save the animals,” Šavelová said to ČTK. She added that the current facility lacks basic veterinary needs. For instance, Šavelová said the zoo does not have a quarantine area, emphasizing “I can’t put an animal from an unknown environment, not knowing its diagnosis, close to our zoo animals.”

Last year, environmentalists and animal lovers brought 240 birds, three hedgehogs, several turtles, an iguana, and a squirrel to the zoo for care. The zoo built an aviary for birds last year with its own funds but it is now refusing to admit other animals such as small reptiles or mammals. Šavelová estimates building a complete quarantine station would cost about €165,000. The only other similar facility operating in Slovakia is at the Bojnice Zoo and injured wild animals from the Bratislava region will now need to be taken there.

The city of Bratislava has helped supply food for the injured animals but Šavelová said the state should do more to save and renew Slovakia’s population of wild animals and should care more about having a proper facility.

The state authorities asked the zoo to operate the rescue station until at least the end of 2008 but Šavelová said no action has been taken in 2009 so the facility will be closed and the animals moved to Bojnice.


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