Born Free’s Zoo Check

During the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting some issues that are close to our hearts..the work that the wonderful people from the Born Free Foundation and the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage do.

The more people hear and see things about their work the better if you ask me.

So here’s a link to what the Born Free Foundation’s Zoo Check are doing[tt_news]=908

“The zoo situation in many EU Member States is a matter of serious concern and needs to be addressed ASAP. The Born Free Foundation, the lead author of the EU Zoo Inquiry 2011, has approached the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), with a view to seeking viable, practical solutions to improve conditions for animals in zoos throughout the EU. The Born Free will be discussing a set of standards that, if applied to all EU zoos, would end the worst cases of neglect, suffering and deprivation. The lunchtime presentation to the European Parliament will take place on 22nd November.” from the Born Free Foundation’s FB page

This is an issue that is very close to my heart, especially after visiting one of our zoo’s here in Belgium. The Olmense Zoo is just absolutely terrible!

Here’s what I wrote to them:
Today I saw something in one of the smaller zoos here in Belgium that completely threw me off!
I had never imagined seeing animals packed together in such small enclosures over here.
Yes, I had seen this in Eastern European zoos but never imagined this possible over here.
All the big cats were in very very small enclosures, some occupied by four of them..Concrete walls, some wire some dirt & grass on the floor and a big tree for them to climb on.
The cats where all pacing up and down, the entire time. NO caretakers around at all. People were allowed to bring their dogs on leash into the zoo(!!) Do they really need to provoke the captive animals like that?
One thing that they allow it, another that people are stupid enough to actually do this.
No enrichment for any of the animals, no toys that were make, no balls, absolutely nothing.
The smell of rotten flesh was in some enclosures terrible. My partner had to walk away.
Some animals where packed others were totally alone. There was one white lion cub whose enclosure was reasonable compared to the others but the poor little thing was all alone.
A lot of the animals seemed overweight .. the lack open space to walk around in was visible.
At one point I just couldn’t stop the tears , I was so appalled by it all!! Having seen animals run freely in Zimbabwe I knew this was going to be different. I have been to other, much better kept zoos where people take care and look after the animals, make sure they have things to do so they don’t get bored but this just broke my heart.
I have no idea what the standard is for keeping big cats in enclosures but if this is the minimal standard..well, than I am very very disappointed in the whole zoo system.
They praise themselves as doing very well in the breeding programs!
Information about the zoo  but you will need a translator as they only have it up in Dutch
Olmense Zoo BVBA | Bukenberg 45 | 2491 Olmen | België
There weren’t that many people around. A few families with young children & babies in strollers.
Children screaming and yelling at the animals. Hardly any of  reacted, like they couldn’t care anymore.
They all looked live-less and I could not see any signs of happiness in their eyes.
I filmed a bit with our iPhone and my camera but the quality’s not the best.  But I hope it will be enough for you see how the animals were living there.
Here’s the link to the film.
Sad, wouldn’t you say so..

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