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Help stop illegal zoos in Cyprus

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As of this day, 9 illegal zoos operate in Cyprus, of which none holds any permits. After an official investigation from BORN FREE Organization, based on European Council Directive 1999/22/EC (relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos), key findings were: • Only one of three government-recognised zoos was licensed. • Eight operational establishments identified as zoos were unlicensed. • The Cypriot law, Regulation 81/2002, has not sufficiently adopted the key requirements of the Directive: the active conservation of biodiversity and its education to the public. • Enforcement of R81/2002 and the requirements of the Directive appear minimal. • Only 5% of species observed were listed as being part of European co-ordinated captive breeding programmes. • No zoo appeared to participate in key conservation activities such as scientific research or species reintroduction. • The commitment to and standard of education in all zoos was minimal. 79% of species holdings lacked informational signage and 95% of signs did not contain all the best practice criteria (SMZP). • Nine out of ten enclosures did not provide appropriate species-specific environmental complexity. • It would appear that only minimal measures were taken to prevent the escape of non-native animals into the local environment. • Poor enclosure design, a lack of stand-off barriers and a shortage of available zoo staff often placed the public at risk of injury. Members of the public were easily able to come into direct contact with dangerous species including spotted hyaena and hamadryas baboons. • Many of the enclosures were unhygienic and may pose a risk to the health and well-being of the animals. An unacceptable build-up of excrement was observed in a quarter of all enclosures. • 44% of enclosures did not appear to meet the requirements of the Animal Protection Ordinance of Switzerland. • None of the nine zoos fully comply with the Cypriot Animal Protection and Welfare (Keeping Wild Animals in Zoos) R81/2002. Please, help us stop this. Action must be taken NOW.

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