Last week the press continued discussion the topic of Yerevan Zoo in their articles. Mainly the articles were devoted to the confrontation of the ex and current directors, Sahak Abovyan and Ruben Khachatryan, respectively. Below you can read materials on this topic mainly in Armenian.
“Unknown Infection” of Black Swans and Confrontation of “Native” Directors
Kristine Aghalaryan, the Hetq
About ten days ago two black swans from Yerevan Zoo died in the Parz Lake located in Dilijan. Late in May Yerevan Zoo management leased these swans to “Opela” LLC for 380,000 AMD for a term of 5 years. Yerevan Zoo management assures the animals died from an unknown virus. Afterwards the swans were sent for expertise. Expertise conclusions excluded the possibility of intoxication, bacteriological or infectious diseases. Only the possibility of viruses was not examines because of its impossibility under Armenian conditions.
“There are some modifications of organs which take place on the background of different causative agents. If we don’t have infectious causative agents and don’t have intoxication, but do have modifications, it leads to a disease with virus etiology,” details Anush Rafayelyan, Yerevan Zoo Vivarium Department Head.
“Black swans haven’t died from intoxication, they just died from starvation,” said Sahak Abovyan, Ex Director of Yerevan Zoo and added that in Armenia birds can die from plague and bird flu which are missing in Armenia. Ex Director considers it possible that the care takers didn’t want swans to die, but they didn’t understand how to take care of them.
What is a film director doing in Zoo and why Sahak Abovyan has vowed not to enter the zoo any longer?
The leasing of swans to “Opela” LLc was the first transaction made by Yerevan Zoo new director Ruben Khachatryan. Reminder: it’s already the second month since movie director Ruben Khachatryan, who is movie director Harutyun Khachatryan’s son born in Javakhq, has been holding the position of zoo director replacing Sahak Abovyan. Ex director mentions, under the charter, only a specialist can be appointed as a zoo director, nevertheless, R. Khachatryan is not a specialist and doesn’t have any appropriate education.
We applied to Municipality Spokesperson Shushan Sardaryan to clear out why Ruben Khachatryan was appointed zoo director, if the charter doesn’t allow such a thing. She promised to give clarifications; nevertheless, no reply has been received so far.
After the death of swans fuss is reigning in the zoo: employees have organized a signature collection against the new director’ actions to apply to Mayor. New Director assigns all this to Sahak Abovyan. Several days ago Sahak Abovyan received a medal from the Association of Eurasian Zoos, which unites more than 70 zoos, for his contribution in the zoo.
Everything started when the Foundation for Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets submitted a program to establish a national center for environmental education and biodiversity conservation to the Municipality. Being one of the founders Ruben Khachatryan has worked out a model for environmental education and biodiversity conservation together with other founding members where all the relevant information should be collected. The Center shall also have an educational part – college, and apart referring to public, i.e. zoo.
In other words the zoo shall become a reserve where animals will live in free places. From the fall of this year the zoo school will start its operation. Under the program, there will be classroom hours for schoolchildren, and every day a class from any school will spend their lesson in the zoo. The territory assigned for the center is in construction process.
Ex Director Sahak Abovyan said they always had this educational program, just they didn’t demonstrate it. Each year 20,000-30,000 children, including school children were allowed to visit the zoo free of charge where schoolchildren spent their lessons. “They make a show out of it, while we did it without any ads.” Nevertheless, Ruben Khachatryan has submitted a program to Ex Mayor Gagik Beglaryan, then to new Mayor Karen Karapetyan.
At the same time Sahak Abovyan has submitted a program together with Karen Manvelyan, WWF Armenia Head, which lays down a model for new zoo with up-to-date conditions. However, Ruben Khachatryan’s program contained promises of large investments. Mayor asked whether Sahak Abovyan will be able to make such large investments and the letter honestly refused saying he was unable to do that. Afterwards the Mayor made a decision to change the director, while Sahak Abovyan submitted an application to leave his position.
“They promised to make investments of 2 million by the end of this month, but nothing has been made so far,” Ex Director is sure, “I support reforms and we have been fighting for reforms for 5-6 years so as to re-equip the zoo, and we have done very many things with all our forces, but the zoo des need re-equipment and reforms.” In his turn Ruben Khachatryan assures this year around 50 million investments will be made in the zoo. Around 15 million investments have already been made.
“New Director” was Shocked
“When I first came here, I was shocked what car they used to distribute forage, a huge worn-out track with badly operating brakes, and this car drove among children around the zoo twice per day,” said Director Ruben Khachatryan. “The mechanisms for preserving, processing, chopping and classifying forage are missing. In future we plan to set up a forage kitchen with a small laboratory for forage analysis.”
The next step is to improve the inner communications of the zoo and to improve cleaning and hygienic conditions for animals. “Zoo has always been operating, but it doesn’t experience any progress, just digress. Maybe some animal species have been added, but it has nothing in common with zoo development,” said Khachatryan.
“We bought shoes, buckets, pipes, scissors and other working tools for employees. When I came on the very first day, there wasn’t even one hammer, no medical tools or medicine, but now we are complimenting everything,” new director said. Public toilet didn’t use to operate, as it was in a very bad condition.
Another important circumstance is the health of animals. Anush Rafayelyan assessed the current situation of animals and conditions as lower than satisfactory.
Director Appointed with Violations
Anna Zakharyan, the Haykakan Zhamanak
15:17 June 20, 2011