The campaign of the Organization for the Protection of Animals "FOUR PAWS"  #ZovZaZooparkovete is gaining more and more strength. A month ago, FOUR PAWS published a detailed report on the conditions in 16 operating zoos in Bulgaria and today a new stage in the development of the initiative has started. Public figures familiar to the Bulgarian audience are joining the campaign by force of voice, while the international petition to improve the conditions for animals kept in Bulgarian zoos has already collected nearly 50 signatures. 


The petition calls on the European Commission and the Bulgarian authorities to address this huge problem, because most zoos do not comply with pan-European legislation. Over the years, "FOUR PAWS" has repeatedly signaled various problems in the breeding of animals in different zoos - without leading to the necessary response from the control institutions to the observed violations. Unfortunately, last week we experienced the loss of another victim of the uncontrolled reproduction of wild animals in captivity in Bulgarian zoos. Rescued by the Razgrad Zoo in 2018, lion Teresa died a few months before turning four at the FELIDA wild cat center in the Netherlands, where his brother Masood also left 10 months ago. The two lion cubs developed severe diseases due to genetic malformations that resulted from inbreeding. 

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"2021 is the year in which we hope that the long-term efforts of FOUR PAWS will start a long-awaited change, namely - to stop watching lions and tigers behind bars in concrete cages. Inappropriate practices and conditions, as well as all other acts of irresponsibility in zoos, must stop. From FOUR PAWS, we believe that it is time for the institutions to take the necessary firm decisions to ensure compliance with Bulgarian legislation and a better life for wild animals kept in captivity in Bulgarian zoos. "- said Magdalena Peneva from FOUR PAWS.   


So far your support for #ZovZaZooparkovete State: the exceptional Bulgarian writers Maria Laleva and Georgi Gospodinov, the pop divas Poli Genova, Mihaela Fileva, the actor Kitodar Todorov, the journalists from "DARIK Radio" Dragomir Simeonov, Niki Kanchev and the program director and host of "The Week" Konstantin Valkov, the whole team of "BG RADIO ”, journalist and vlogger Irina Asiova-Diamant, producer Magardich Halvadjian and fitness model and champion, author of books on healthy eating Biliana Yotovska and the team of the independent women's website" Girls from the City ". 

The campaign is open to any voice that will contribute to even greater visibility and awareness of the scale of the problem in order to change the way animals live in Bulgarian zoos.


Some shocking stories


Six bears, two tigers and two lions live in the zoo in Lovech. 

Concrete and obsolete enclosures for brown bears are not suitable for raising the species or for accepting more animals. It is the duty of the zoo to prevent the reproduction of the animals and not to accept new bears.

However, bear breeding continues at the zoo, the last bear being born in January 2020. During a visit to FOUR PAWS at the Lovech Zoo in January 2021, our team witnessed a case of poor hygiene in the enclosure of the three bears. The animals were not only kept together in an all-concrete pit, without natural vegetation and without the possibility of hiding, but also on a floor contaminated with feces.

The facilities for bears, lions and tigers, as well as those for some of the other species in the zoo, are far from the natural environment of the species and it is not possible to make them suitable only with partial repair or enrichment of the environment. Although a renovation project exists, one has not yet been implemented.

FOUR PAWS calls for an end to the breeding and relocation of those animals for which suitable facilities cannot be provided!



The last attraction of the illegal zoo in Kyustendil is a lone lion

The zoo in Kyustendil was closed in 2011 by order of the Minister of Environment and Water. The zoo's license has been revoked and it has been ordered that all animals from the Kyustendil Zoo be moved within 9 months. The main reason is the non-compliance with the minimum requirements for breeding most species housed in the zoo. The enclosures do not meet the requirements for the species.


Poor breeding conditions and revoked licenses create the need to move animals quickly. Nevertheless, ten years later the zoo has still not complied with the order and the animals have been left in unsuitable and illegal breeding conditions! The control body has so far not organized and carried out the movement of the animals, although FOUR PAWS has repeatedly offered assistance.


During the ten years that the zoo operated without a license, some of the animals died, including a lioness and two tigers. According to the control body, the brown bear living in the zoo was still alive in 2020, but during the visits of "FOUR PAWS" in 2020 and 2021, the team did not see the bear. 


In 2020, the last major attraction of the zoo is a lone lion in a narrow concrete cage.



The zoo in Haskovo and the ill-fated concrete cage

In 2009, an official order was issued for the closure of a narrow concrete cage at the Kenana Zoo in the town of Haskovo. Until then, it had housed a brown bear that could be rescued and moved with the help of FOUR PAWS.


From 2014 to 2019, Kenana Zoo operates without a license while still accepting and displaying animals. One of them was a tigress, who on arrival was placed in the old bear cage, which was closed in 2009! 


In 2019, the responsible institutions ignored the complaint of "FOUR PAWS" against the inadequate way of raising animals and gave a license to the zoo. 


In 2021, when our team visited the zoo, they discovered that the hapless concrete cage was still being used to house animals, and now it was the "home" of a lioness! According to our latest information, the zoo now hosts five lions and two tigers.


These are just a few examples of the sad picture we want to change.



FOUR PAWS is an international animal protection organization that helps animals exposed to direct human influence, detects cases of violence, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Helmut Dungler, the organization fights for a world in which people treat animals with respect, compassion and understanding. FOUR PAWS campaigns and projects target companion animals, including stray dogs and cats, farm and wildlife, such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants, which are kept in inappropriate conditions, as well as in areas of disasters and conflicts. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, the United States, Thailand, Ukraine, Switzerland and South Africa, as well as rescue centers in 12 countries, FOUR PAWS provides emergency assistance and long-term solutions .

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