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World - Europe

Animals in Belgrade zoo also feel effects of war

Prince, a Bengal tiger, is so disturbed by the bombing that he is gnawing off his own feet

CNN's Walter Rodgers reports on how animals in the Belgrade zoo are being affected by the bombing.
Windows Media 28K 80K

May 29, 1999
Web posted at: 11:35 p.m. EDT (0335 GMT)

From Correspondent Walter Rodgers

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- Few residents of Belgrade seem more helpless during NATO airstrikes than the animals in the city zoo. They remain trapped in an increasingly desperate world of sonic booms, air raid sirens and dwindling hope.

The wolves, anxiously pacing back and forth, know when the warplanes are coming before the radar systems do.

Since the bombs began falling March 24, most of the pregnant females in the zoo have aborted their young or delivered prematurely. Some have eaten their young, according to zoo officials.

Yugoslav authorities restricted CNN's access while it was in the zoo covering this story.

The attacks have so disturbed Prince, a Bengal tiger affectionate enough to pet by hand, that the 300-kilogram (660-pound) cat is chewing off his own feet. Zoo officials say they don't have enough medicine to properly treat him.

Food and water shortages are affecting many of the animals  

A sea lion had no where to swim because NATO air raids repeatedly knocked out water and power supplies. Last week it returned to the water, its tank full for now. Still, the polar bears will not have enough water to cool off with this summer, zoo officials said.

The exotic birds have suffered dreadfully. The females are too frightened to sit on their nests. Thousands of eggs have been lost in incubators that stopped working during power outages. Some ostrich and emu eggs will probably end up in the trash, a zoo worker said.

There is not enough food for the humans, much less the animals. Some of the zoo's zebras will be fed to the big cats if the war continues into the autumn.

Yet the end could come much quicker. At night, half a dozen guards with high-powered rifles are posted around the zoo grounds. Should a stray bomb break a fence or cage, they have orders to shoot the animals.

Despite the lack of money for their salaries, the staff has managed to keep its humor, albeit of the dark kind.

They have named two of the pythons after the current and former U.S. secretaries of state, Madeleine Albright and Warren Christopher.

Yugoslavia reports more civilian casualties in NATO attacks
May 29,1999
Russian envoy 'very satisfied' with Milosevic talks
May 28, 1999
U.S. offers evidence to back Yugoslav war crimes charges
May 28, 1999
Refugees dodge shellfire, snipers
May 28, 1999
U.S. balances refugee needs, war goals
May 28, 1999
U.S. group to begin Kosovo airdrops Monday
May 28, 1999

Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites:
  • Kosovo

  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • Kosovo - from

  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

Resettlement Agencies Helping Kosovars in U.S.:
  • Church World Service
  • Episcopal Migration Ministries
  • Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
  • Iowa Department of Human Services
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Immigration and Refugee Services of America
  • Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
  • United States Catholic Conference

  • Doctors without borders
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
  • Doctors of the World
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Mercy International

  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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