Crimean private zookeeper said he will shoot his own bears and the lions and tigers will be next

Oleg Zubkov is the owner of a safari park and zoo in CrimeaA. It appears to be a private zoo on a gargantuan scale. A scale at which Oleg Zubkov is incapable of coping because, for example, he says that he needs 3,500 tonnes of food a day for his animals. The park covers 30 hectares. There are 80 lions and 50 tigers. Sadly, Wikipedia tells us that it, “is the largest European breeding ground for lions and other large predator mammals, located in the Belogorsk Raion of Crimea”. So he has irresponsibly added to his woes by needlessly creating more animals.

Oleg Zubkov

He says that his private zoo includes 2,500 lions, tigers and other large species. The numbers are staggering and it does point to a terrible catastrophe in Crimea with respect to animal welfare because he says he rescues these animals from circuses and restaurants where they are kept in cages and used to entertain guests.

You wonder what sort of animal welfare legislation they have in Crimea. I did some research to try and find out without success. And I’m a good researcher so clearly there is very little on the Internet, if anything at all, with respect to animal welfare legislation in this annexed country of the Russian state.

Oleg Zubkov says that his business is going through a terribly difficult time financially. In addition he’s received complaints by local authorities and by animal advocates. This could mean the closure of his zoo for at least three months. This would reduce revenue from paying customers which in turn would leave him without the means to buy food in the enormous quantities that his animals demand to sustain them.

I’m told by The Times newspaper that he has resorted to feeding Vietnamese pigs (I presume these are part of his private zoo) to lions and tigers. I don’t know whether he fed them live or whether they were killed beforehand.

He’s made it clear that he would have to shoot the bears or will have them put down if no one comes forward to provide funding.

Comment: as briefly mentioned above, it appears to me that in this country there is a laxity regarding the possession and ownership of wild species as forms of entertainment which has led to the need to rescue them and Oleg Zubkov has come forward to do that but to an extent at which he cannot cope which in turn has led to this catastrophe of animal welfare.

It provides a grizzly and black insight into the failure of the relationship between humans and wild species in what is now part of Russia after Crimea was annexed recently. Perhaps it highlights the kind of problems that subsist in Russia in respect of public and private zoos and so-called safari parks.

The zoo has a short Wikipedia page informing us on past troubles with the business. The current problem is the latest it appears to me.

Note: This is an opinion piece and it is not straight news reporting.

A. Oleg Zubkov – known as “Lion Man” – founded the Taigan Lion Park in the city of Simferopol in 2006 to house ex-circus and captivity animals – Wikipedia.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

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