Greens demand closure of private zoo in Attica after killing of chimpanzees

Greek environmentalists and representatives of the green movements issued a strong condemnation of the killing of a chimpanzee that escaped from a private zoo in Attica on Saturday.

Animal welfare organizations are calling for the closure of a private zoo on the outskirts of Athens, which has often been criticized for the conditions in which the captured animals live.

As it became known, after an incident with other monkeys, the chimpanzee left his cage, after which he was surrounded by park security officers and killed.

The news, as well as the tragic details of the killing of the animal, were published by the Zoological Park of Attica on his personal Instagram page and in an announcement on the website.

The message says following:

“On the morning of June 25, at 09:40, a chimpanzee who got out of the enclosure was found by the park staff. Security protocol was immediately activated, the police were alerted, visitors were isolated, and the chimpanzee, with coordinated movements by security personnel in the presence of veterinarians, was “chased into the park’s security zone.” After assessing the state of the wild animal (adrenaline level), it was decided to neutralize it. This is a tragic day for the park, which led to the death of a beloved animal.”

Why were they killed and not euthanized?

Anesthetics act on a calm animal in about 5-10 minutes. In an animal with increased adrenaline, this period can reach 20 minutes. “Chimpanzees are in the red and highest risk category, therefore, according to safety protocols and a situation assessment, neutralization is provided for by competent veterinarians observing the behavior of the animal.”


The reaction of the responsible person to angry reviews

“I understand the concerns of some people. In the statement you are reading, we emphasized that an animal that is in a state of agitation and anxiety, with high levels of adrenaline, cannot be euthanized.

We isolated him and watched him for about 20 minutes, tried to put him back in the cage, but he showed signs of extreme agitation and aggression. We would not be able to limit it if the chimpanzee got out of the park perimeter,” Mr. Lesueur explained. “There was no other solution than to neutralize the animal. In such situations, we follow international protocols,” he added.

On June 26, the Panhellenic Federation for the Protection of Animals and the Environment held a protest action near the Zoological Park of Attica on the occasion of the killing of a chimpanzee.

Outrage on social media

However, despite the park’s clarifications on public safety, overwhelming outrage erupted on social media, both at the decision to kill the animal rather than anesthetize it, and at the operation of such places of detention and the torture of creatures in general. Many recalled the case when two panthers were killed after they escaped from the cage.

Animal Issues Website describes the Attica Zoo’s statement as “hypocritical” and recalls that management tried to cover up killing two jaguars back in December 2018. These two animals escaped from their cages and were killed by park guards.

The Attica Zoo has been criticized several times in the past, especially for the dolphins and the show they put on. The Panhellenic Federation for the Protection of Animals and the Environment called for a protest rally outside the Attica Zoological Park at 5:00 pm on Sunday.

Litigation and investigation are bound to determine the circumstances in which the chimpanzee managed to emerge from an apparently unprotected cage, pass unscathed through the supposedly electric fence, and run around the parking lot.

According to reports in the relevant hashtag on twitterthe MP for SYRIZA filed a lawsuit against Attica Park on Sunday afternoon.

Government intervention

In a letter to Attica Park owner sent on Sunday, Deputy Environment Minister Giorgos Amiras, as reported, asked for a full investigation into the incident. In addition, he asked to provide him with documents from which countries the animals came from, the conditions for their keeping in adequate space and their interaction in the group, as well as the safe passage of visitors in case of emergencies.

In another letter to the regional government of Attica and the veterinary authorities, he asked for an investigation into the incident.

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