The Zambezi River expects elephant Phil and stork Volodya this week

The zoo with African animals will open in Kazan by New Year

The Zambezi River expects elephant Phil and stork Volodya this week Photo: Ilya Repin

The readiness of the new zoo was shown in Kazan on 24 October. According to its officials, the collection of animals is replenished, new animals are at the moment kept in the old part of the zoo and botanical garden. This week they will start to be resettled to The Zambezi River. Visitors aren’t expected earlier than the winter holidays. The reconstruction of the site is performed at the republican budget’s expense, while the zoo hopes benefactors will help to purchase and maintain animals. More is in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

Africa, Russia and South America on several hectares

The building of old Kazan Zoo & Botanical Garden was built in the middle of the last century when there weren’t any norms for animal maintenance. Animals do not always feel comfortable in cramped old open-air cages, neither did their bleak appearance please the visitors.

Modernisation of the zoo began in 2015, the construction of the first stage is behind. The Zambezi River on the territory of 7 ha next to the old part on Lake Kaban shore is getting ready to receive the first lot of animals. After the animals and birds move, the existing part where Russian animals will live will be reconstructed. The third zone of the zoo, The Amazon, will be located in front of the existing one.

By the way, a ticket to the upgraded zoo will be 250 for adults and 150 rubles for children.

The building of old Kazan Zoo & Botanical Garden was built in the middle of the last century

Supporting programmes and research

Zoo & Botanical Garden is a municipal public institutions. The zoo can’t maintain about 200 animals on its own. Traditionally, benefactors will help it. For instance, Rosneft maintains white bears across the country. But it is planned to become self-sufficient after modernisation.

Employees of the zoo do research ranking second among the country’s regions in amount of research — after Moscow. It is also planned to create their own cryobank to breed and study snow leopards who are forbidden to be sold. This is why they will be purchased via a special programme.

Comfortable “flats” are ready

According to the zoo’s Director Fanis Nurmukhametov, 167 animals are now located in the old part. 34 key species will live in The Zambezi River — room will significantly increase for every species. Light, modern “flats” with all engineering mains and ventilation that wild animals need in captivity were prepared for African animals.

The Zambezi River is 95% ready to welcome the animals, the zoo assures. The mains and all infrastructure have been checked on the last days. In addition, the work on remarks of international coordinators of rare animal conservation programmes goes on in the new part. A part of insignificant remarks has already been eliminated. By the specialists’ recommendation, the layout of the rhino’s open-air cage changed. A multi-storeyed wooden playground with hammocks and ropes is now assembled for gorillas and chimpanzees.

According to the zoo’s Director Fanis Nurmukhametov, 167 animals are now located in the old part

The heating season began in the zoo. Every animal needs its own temperature and humidity regime. In the elephant’s cage, the temperature mustn’t be below 15 degrees but can't exceed 23 degrees. Humidity in cages for chimpanzees and gorillas should be 70%. The heating and climate control systems in the terrarium have also been inspected.

Planted trees, bushes and flowers occupy half of the zoo. The open-air cages will also be green. Now plants for lions and elephants have almost been planted. The territory is designed in the African style. There were created recreational zones, a restaurant with a viewing platform for visitors.

Resettlement trial

The zoo continues creating the collection. It has been replenished by 22 species of animals and birds, which total 117. It includes a Nile crocodile, lion, leopard and African spurred tortoises, De Brazza's monkey, ring-tailed lemur, lovebirds, suricates, hamadryas baboon. Pink flamingos, cheetahs, zebras, chimpanzees — eight species of animals and birds (57 in total) will be brought to the new part of the zoo in November. It is planned to purchase four elephants next year. The zoo will be full in 2021. And the animals are already prepared for transportation, which will begin this week. As Fanis Nurmukhametov said, they will transport the animals themselves, the zoo’s friends promise to help.

“The animals’ adaptation will last for about 30 days,” doctor Anastasia Balmakova explained

“Most of the animals will be immobilised. They will be administered anaesthetic, which will be then removed with another medication. The transportation will be in stages. The monkey will be transported first, then lions, the hippo. Visitors won’t be allowed in at first. The animals’ adaptation will last for about 30 days,” doctor Anastasia Balmakova explained.

It is hard to choose anaesthetic for three-tonne hippo Zakharya. This is why after some fasting she will be trapped to a prearranged cage and transport her with the help of a crane and a lorry.

The zoo promised to try to prepare the opening of The Zambezi River by New Year.

Shots, toys and balanced diet

Employees of the zoo have a great affection to the animals, give them names. Charming stork Volodya swaggers along the cage and makes loud sounds with his beak. A new house is waiting for elephant Phil. Yak Maratik was born last weekend. The animals are provided with good care, this is why they live longer than in the wild. The brown bear lived for 40 years. Hippo Zakharya is 37 years.

The animals have their own vitamin-based balanced food that has certificates, the veterinary service checks it. Food is purchased from suppliers by tender. “Every animal has shots. If animals overeat, they are on a diet. Monkeys, for instance, are given special toys — exercise machines to find food in motion”, the zoo says.

“Animals’ organisms have physiological changes as winter comes, this is why increase calorie content by means of protein foodstuffs. Primates are susceptible to the same diseases a human is. They have surges of respiratory, virus infections, we compulsorily add onion, garlic, honey, dried fruits, rosehip syrup to their ration. This is why it is forbidden for visitors to feed the animals,” Anastasia Balmakova said about the care for the zoo and botanical garden’s inhabitants.

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By Yekaterina Ablayeva. Photo: Ilya Repin
Tatarstan