Tbilisi Zoo Presents New Zoo Latest Developments
22 November, 2016
Tbilisi Zoo Presents New Zoo Latest Developments
In 2015, the swollen Vere River flooded Tbilisi Zoo. Half the animal inhabitants died, while many surviving animals, such as a hippopotamus, lions, tigers, bears, and wolves, escaped into the streets of Tbilisi. Some animals were recaptured but several were shot by emergency forces. While the old zoo has been rehabilitated and re-stocked, it has on-going plans to relocate and expand its collection.

On November 13, journalists were invited to visit the territory of the new zoo near Tbilisi Sea, guided
around it on horse-back by Zoo Director Zurab Gurielidze, who explained the construction process of the new open-air animal enclosures, the zonation of the new territory and future plans for the New Tbilisi Zoo.

The new zoo area has already been fenced with the help of international funds, in particular from the German International Cooperation: Society Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbe (GIZ).

“For the open-air cages we plan to use the natural landscape of the territory, keeping it as close to the natural environment of the animal as possible. In this open-air cage, wolves and bears will live together,” said Gurielidze. “This is a method that involves cohabitation and creates an environment that is very close to the one present in the wild. The shrubbery is very comfortable for bears; and good for the wolves to hide in. Every animal needs to hide at times, and this is reflected in the world standards for zoo zonation that we are applying here. As bears are swimmers, diggers and climbers, there will be double fencing: electro and regular fence, with a net in between for visitor safety.”

Gurielidze also talked about the animals and the importance of ensuring their reproduction.

“Wild goats and deer have become extinct in Georgia, with the Wild goat now only found in Tusheti. We plan to buy them, breed them and eventually release them back into the wild Caucasus. We have already developed a management plan for this process. Goats and deer are our priority at this stage, however we also want to work with aurochs, also extinct in the Georgian wild. They are very hard to come by but we found some in Tallinn Zoo- they’ll be brought to Tbilisi soon.”
The design of the open-air and cliff-side enclosures for the deer and wild goats will also be funded by GIZ.

Natia Liparteliani
Source: Georgia Today
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