HeadLine: ZOO CHIEFS KILL BONGO THE BEAR
The Mirror, 31/07/2003, p18
by SHAUN MILNE
ZOO bosses were yesterday forced to put down kiddies’ favourite Bongo
Glasgow Zoo confirmed last night that the Asiatic black bear had been
put to sleep – just 24 hours after he was given a temporary reprieve.
Keepers and volunteers at the zoo – which is being forced to close
because of a funding crisis – choked back tears as they heard the news.
And there was also agony at Edinburgh Zoo as an 11-year-old giraffe
suffering from severe arthritis was humanely killed.
Jade was put down on the advice of vets who predicted that her life
would become unbearable.
Bosses at Glasgow Zoo said the mercy killing was in the best interests
of the 28-year-old bear, who was suffering from cancer and the ravages
Chief executive Roger Edwards said: “The zoo staff, members and
volunteers are, of course, greatly distressed by the news.”
Bongo’s death comes as under-pressure zoo chiefs try desperately to
find homes for the other animals at the park before it shuts for good.
The zoo was stung by criticism in the Mirror earlier this week after
animal activists claimed homeless animals would have to be be culled.
But the zoo and SSPCA experts are working round the clock to avoid such
a drastic move, and insist that they are “confident” of success.
An SSPCA inspector was present as tragic Bongo breathed his last.
A spokeswoman insisted last night: “Glasgow Zoo will continue its
planned work regarding rehoming of the animals and the continuing care
of the animals.
“We are happy to receive suggestions or introductions regarding
rehoming of animals, which will be assessed carefully at the
appropriate time along with all other re-homing options.
“It is inappropriate at this time to speculate further on this matter.
“At all times, the wellbeing and best interests of the animals are
foremost in everyone’s mind at the zoo.”
At Edinburgh Zoo, Jade the Rothschild’s giraffe had struggled to walk
since developing a painful degenerative disease in her leg joints.
The mum-of-four, who had been at the zoo since 1995, was separated from
her mate Siger and calf Sapphire for the last time early yesterday.
Vets then gave her an anaesthetic before the lethal injection and she
slipped away painlessly.
Head keeper Darren McGarry said: “She will be much missed, but we could
not bear to see her suffering any longer.”
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