Dozens of animal lovers demonstrated against Hai Park in the northern city of Kiryat Motzkin on Thursday over what they believe are unacceptable conditions for keeping wild animals.
Claims and counterclaims about the animals’ welfare have escalated in the past nine days since Nir David, a political activist, posted a photo to social media of two elephants apparently clinging to the wall of their enclosure to keep cool in the shade.
The post went viral, receiving 2,600 comments and 3,900 shares on Thursday, and sparked the launch of a campaign to “rescue” the animals by Lauren Tobaly, a math student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who lives in Tel Aviv.
On Friday, the park’s management wrote on Facebook that the elephants had plenty of shade from trees, from the wall during the morning hours and from a shade net in the center of the screen.
The park invited the public to come and see for themselves, giving free admission all week through Friday.
In response to the spat, representatives of the Department of Agriculture and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority visited the facility earlier this week. They have launched an investigation and have temporarily banned the park from taking in any new animals. They said they could not comment until conclusions were drawn.
A statement from the Department of Agriculture said several “enforcement procedures” had been carried out in the park in recent months and several “deficiencies” had been found, not all of which had been corrected.
פרטי מתעלל בחיות, כולם זועקים.כשעירייה פוגעת בחיות, דממת אלחוט. בחום, מקולקלת. חי פארק מוצקין 19.07.2022 10:42 עצוב, מאוד.Nir David
Posted by סטטוסים מצייצים on Thursday 21 July 2022
On Tuesday, Yesh Atid MK Yasmin Sacks-Friedman, an animal rights activist, visited the park and reported afterwards that she found that some of the enclosures were well maintained, while others were well below acceptable standards.
She said the lack of shade for the elephants, giraffes, monkeys and other animals was “the most serious deficiency”.
In addition, she wrote that the water in the crocodile pool was full of plastic, corks and empty bottles and that visitors fed the animals unsupervised in a way that could harm them (a giraffe died in the park in 2012 after eating the wrapper of food). provided by visitors) and that the cage for the sheep and goats was “musty and dirty”.
As part of the first campaign, the Israeli branch of the Jane Goodall Institute has also become involved. The Institute was formally launched earlier this month, but co-director Dr. Itai Roffman, an evolutionary anthropologist, told the Times of Israel that he had received information about Kiryat Motzkin Park for several months and had already filed a complaint with IFAW, the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Roffman, who, like Goodall, has spent years studying bonobo monkeys, said Yus, an orangutan who died of meningitis several years ago in the park, could have been vaccinated against the infection and her death indicated poor sanitary conditions in the park. residence. The remaining orangutans were then moved to the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem.
He added that one of JGI Israel’s goals was to send endangered species from zoos to ecological sanctuaries and then release them into the wild in reintroduction programs. Orangutans are critically endangered.
Roffman, who did not visit the Kiryat Motzkin facility but did see photos and video clips, criticized the lack of suitable vegetation in the enclosures and access to wildlife.
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Posted by mako on Sunday 17 April 2022
The zoo made headlines earlier this year when Channel 12 news published a photo of an emaciated female tiger. This prompted the Ministry of Agriculture to send a veterinarian, who anesthetized the animal for a medical check-up. The tiger, named Sarah, never woke up. According to the Department of Agriculture, the post-mortem results were inconclusive about the cause of death and were sent for a second opinion.
A spokesperson for the Kiryat Motzkin Municipality, speaking on behalf of the park and at its request — the park is an independent non-profit organization — said the facility was operating under the law and with full transparency.
He added that the “violent” nature of the verbal attacks on the park basically points to opposition to zoos, with interested parties riding the wave of “a distorted saga” born of “politics and demagoguery”.
A Capricorn whose photo is circulating on social media as an example of abuse was born with disabled front legs, the spokesman said.
Sarah the tiger was nineteen and a half and died of old age, he claimed, while another female tiger with an apparently crooked back, the photo of which is also circulating, came out of a smaller enclosure in the central city of Rishon Lezion in 2019, and was already limping and had medical problems.
He emphasized that many young people with special needs worked in the park and benefited greatly from their contact with the animals.
Emphasizing that photos didn’t tell the whole story, he gave positive testimony from Gerry Creighton, who spent 36 years as a caretaker at Dublin Zoo in Ireland before joining zoos as an elephant care consultant in January 2021.
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Posted by חי פארק קריית מוצקין on Sunday 24 July 2022
He also provided a link to an article published Thursday in a local newspaper (in Hebrew) by a journalist, Aliza Barkan, who gave the park a thumbs up.
Contrary to Yasmin Sacks-Friedman’s report, Barkan, who said she spent four hours in the park, wrote: “In general, the yard was clean, the pools, including those of the crocodiles, were clean, and there was a stream. fresh and clean water.”