Kaliningrad zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Russia. In a 2003 BBC news article it was reported that this cash-strapped zoo had such financial trouble that it had difficulties feeding the animals. The zoo has in the past sold animals in order to buy food, and the public has been throwing food over the zoo-fence. Visitors today tell of animals who beg for food.
Many of the animal exhibits have dangerously deep concrete moats. If an animal accidently falls down into one of those, it will cause serious injuries or even death.
Pregolja's enclsoure is extremely unhealthy for an elephant. She is in great danger of developing arthritis and osteomyelitis from the environment she currently lives in. There is no room for Pregolja to express any natural behaviors, nor does she have any company of other elephants. She has found herself in this enclosure for her entire life. There is simply nothing to do for Pregolja there. One can wonder how she has coped day after day, year after year, living like that.
Pregolja must be allowed to spend her remaining life at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee where she can finally live as nature intended; like an elephant.
A Review of the Welfare of Zoo Elephants in Europe. A report commisioned by the RSPCA: Click here.
"All on his own in a concrete ditch, a scabrous, balding, old dirtbag Russian brown bear has obviously grown transcendentally mad with despair. He rocks, shuffles, and chews a plastic bottle, then sits in that distressingly human way bears have with his back to the wall and lifts his face to a glimmer of watery sunshine. A troika of small boys, cocky and nervous proto-new Russians, lean over the rusting barbed wire and drool gobbets of spit onto his head. For a moment he stares straight at me, and I can see in his tea-coloured eyes, all his sorrow, all the struggle, the suffering and pity. Through everything, in a dark place all his own, the bear has survived. Then he does the damnedest thing, I promise. He slowly lifts one cack-caked, scimitar-taloned paw and salutes."
- by A.A. Gill (A travel writer) on Kaliningrad zoo.
"3 out of 4 captive elephants die of a bone infection, osteomyelitis, a preventable disease caused when elephants stand on hard surfaces and live in small spaces. Ulcers form on the cushioned pads of an elephant's foot, festering until the chronic infection migrates through the flesh of the foot to the bone. The bones of the foot disintegrate, causing the foot to collapse, leaving the elephant crippled and in excruciating pain. At this point a zoo has no other option but to euthanize the elephant. It is important to note that according to researchers and veterinarians familiar with wild populations of African and Asian elephants - osteomyelitis and arthritis are diseases which do not affect wild elephants".
- by Carol Buckley, Executive Director at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.
From: "An Elephant's Need for Space: The Debate Continues" , Trunklines Spring 2006.