April 11, 2010

Zookeepers and Animal Charges to Collect Debt from Henan Sports Bureau

Translation: 郑州动物园带老虎去河南体育局讨债

One tiger and lion outside the bicycle sport administration center

On April 11, large iron cages appeared on the west side of Henan Province's Administration Center for Bicycle Sports (河南省自行车现代五项运动管理中心). Two tigers and one lion were housed in these cages, some with eyes half-closed and others pacing back and forth while looking alertly at surrounding people.

A white banner read: "Please return our 50 mu land. Give green nature back to the people." In addition to the three carnivores, there were ten emus, kept separately in the adjacent space enclosed by wire fences.

Zhengzhou City Zoo situates not far from the bicycle sports administration center. According to the animal caretakers, most of the people present at the scene were zoo employees, who helped to build the cages and fences. "The center borrowed 50 mu of land from us 20 years ago. The land was never returned. The zoo currently has many large-sized animals, whose movements are restricted because of limited space. The center did not give back the land in all this time. Yet, they are already going ahead with commercial land development." Many zookeepers feel that actions of the center are outrageous.

By the zookeepers' own admission, they transported in the ferocious helpers because they did not know what else they could do. The three beasts are fed regularly and drink water whenever they want. The only inconvenience is the small area inside the cages.

In 1984, the Zhengzhou City government reassigned land previously owned by the zoo to the sports administration center. The land was used to construct sites for bicycle competitions. In exchange for the reassignment, the government promised to compensate the zoo with other land near the zoo. On April 10, Zhengzhou City Zoo showed the reporter relevant petition document that the Bureau of City Planning and Environmental Protection presented to the Provincial Planning Commission.

"20 years have gone by. The land was never returned. Not only that, the center rented out sites for profit, in direct contradiction to original purpose of the land grant. And now they are talking about additional commercial development." One supervisor said that the zoo mailed an overnight letter to the Henan Sports Bureau as late as April 6 of this year, asking that the land be returned. The zoo never received any reply. Instead, news of business development at the bicycle sports center leaked out, galvanizing the zookeepers to stage the April 11th demonstration.

"They are illegally seizing our land," said Secretary Li from the bicycle sports center. The document mentioned any 50 mu land to the southeast of the zoo; it does not say that the original land be returned. He also confirmed that the fenced land on the north side is intended for commercial purposes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Veggie Discourse - Blogged