MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
The Wild Animal Rehabilitation Center is a unique institution that helps lions, tigers, wolves, birds, and monkeys. Here they are nursed and treated, as well as looking for a decent zoo for them or releasing them into nature.
About 55 kilometers north of Moscow, near the city of Yakhroma, there is a unique place where about 600 wild animals live, from owls, wolves and turtles to tigers and monkeys. Some of them used to live with irresponsible owners, and smugglers tried to bring someone into the country.
The Wild Animal Rehabilitation Center resembles a zoo, but with one significant difference – there are usually no visitors here. Sergei Burmistrov, Head of the Biodiversity Conservation Department, told mos.ru how the center takes care of its residents Metropolitan Department of Nature Management and Environmental Protection.
Who lives in the center
The territory of the center for the rehabilitation of wild animals is fenced, the passage is through the gate with security. There are many enclosures, pavilions, cages and buildings inside. All animals that come here in a deplorable state are helped by specialists. They are nursed, treated and fed, and also taken care of. At the same time, no training or domestication is practiced here.
Today, the center is home to wild animals, carnivores and herbivores that live in different parts of the world. Here you can meet tigers and lions, wolves and foxes, arctic foxes, raccoons, monkeys, exotic snakes and iguanas. Various birds are also kept here, including overseas parrots, pelicans and cranes.
Only in 2021, the center received 120 animals, including a polar fox, six primates, four raccoons, 13 exotic snakes, four foxes, several ducks, dozens of hawks and owls. Of these, 58 individuals that live in central Russia have successfully adapted and released into the wild.
And one of the animals found a new home. For example, one of last year’s new settlers is a crocodile. He was found in the back room of a pet store, the sellers could not provide the necessary documents. But the dangerous reptile was taken away quickly enough, now the crocodile lives in the ecological and biological center of Kostroma.
In general, crocodiles are demanding on the conditions of detention. They need a large pool with a water temperature of about 30 degrees. It is difficult for the center to keep such reptiles, but the specialists coped with this difficult task.
“In our center, an infrastructure has been created to provide food for the wards. For example, we have incubators with chickens for predators. There is an autonomous diesel generator in case the electricity goes out in the village,” Sergey Burmistrov explains.
One of the center’s pets is a lynx named Barsik. The wild cat has been living here for 10 years: the owner gave the beast away, realizing that he could not cope with the content. Three inquisitive furry heads look at the lynx from the neighboring paddock. This local Serpent Gorynych is a family of camels: a female, a male and a grown cub. They were also lucky, because the owner had the courage to refuse outlandish pets in time and admit that he could not cope.
“Animals come to us in different ways. For example, in case of voluntary refusal. A man calls us and says that he can no longer keep a wild pet. Citizens have the right to
in law“, – says Sergey Burmistrov.
Both Barsik and camels feel great in the conditions of the Russian winter. A beautiful winter fur coat of a wild cat protects it well from sub-zero temperatures, and desert ships, despite stereotypes, have thick warm wool and powerful hooves, which are convenient to rake snowdrifts.
Save from the clutches of intruders
But not all animals are lucky enough to be within the walls of the center in time. Many of them get to specialists in poor condition. They are seized from private hands, taken from unscrupulous owners or from pet stores and even restaurants where exotic cubs serve as entertainment for visitors.
“There was a case when a lion cub was kept in a hookah bar, he walked freely between visitors. The kid was in a terrible state, exhausted and dirty. We fattened him for a month, ”recalls Sergey Burmistrov.
Another wild cat that ended up in the center in a terrible state is the Bengal tiger Nur. Now he is one and a half years old, and he goes out with interest to get acquainted with the guests, runs, throws himself on the cage and frolic in the snow, like a house cat, only very big. But when Noor was seized from illegal traffickers in October 2020, he was a dirty three-month-old kitten from the basement, hungry and constantly squeaking.
Next to the Bengal there are enclosures of other wild or large cats – the leopard Tikhon and the lioness Gela, who has a birth injury to her paw. She was operated on, pins and plates were inserted, but they could not fully cure her.
They hope to attach Nur to the zoo, but so far there have been no worthy proposals. Everyone is interested in Amur tigers, and Bengal tigers, unfortunately, are not in demand. For example, the former pet of the Amur Tiger Center, Tamerlane, left for the Yaroslavl Zoo and now lives like a king in an enclosure with an area of three thousand square meters.
Sometimes representatives of the middle lane, such as moose or birds of prey, are released into the wild. However, this option is not suitable for all pupils of the center.
“You need to do this very carefully and competently, think about whether an individual can survive. After all, they need to get their own food there. For example, it happens that an owl has always lived with a person and has never seen a wild gray mouse, because it was fed white. And most likely, in nature, she will look for a white rodent, and, of course, will not be able to find it. It is important to check the skills of the animal, to understand whether it can get species-specific food for itself,” explains Serey Burmistrov.
Small exotic animals get to the center, including after the arrest of smugglers.
“Parrots are carried in very small cages, they are tied up and stacked. They lie there motionless in total darkness. On the plane they are carried in hand luggage, sometimes they are checked in as luggage. Many of them die. I remember a batch that included 600 different exotic birds, not a single budgerigar survived,” says Sergei Burmistrov.
Most often, reptiles, including lizards and chameleons, are illegally imported into the country. Small turtles are also popular – in the warm enclosure of the center there is a terrarium with 40 small Central Asian turtles, which were confiscated from smugglers.
And in 2016, 10 of the rarest Kalimantan earless monitor lizards, which were also taken illegally, ended up in the shelter.
“After the discovery of the lizards, customs officers contacted us, and we, in turn, sent photos of the animals to specialists. One immediately replied that they were very rare Kalimantan earless monitor lizards. There are only a hundred of them in captivity, and there was not a single one in Russia at that time. These monitor lizards are very demanding in terms of maintenance and feeding, so we transferred them to the Moscow Zoo in just a day. They are still there, and for the first time in the history of zoos they were able to
give offspring“, – recalls Sergey Burmistrov.
The Wild Animal Rehabilitation Center is constantly growing. A few years ago, a large monkey house was opened here, and later, new aviaries for birds.
A large parrot room opened last year. Inside it is very noisy and colorful – the birds seem to be competing, whose cry will be louder. Here you can meet a huge blue-and-yellow macaw and its smaller green relatives, silver grays, pink-breasted cockatoos and other parrots.
Rare crowned cranes hatch their eggs nearby. In order not to interfere with the process, a corner for them was fenced off with wooden plates. A little further away, even rarer Japanese cranes walk importantly.
The peculiarity of the center is that first animals appear, and then enclosures are built for them, taking into account the specifics of the content.
“We cannot know who we will have in the near future, or provide ideal premises for the entire fauna of the world. Therefore, often our center is used specifically for overexposure. There were cases when an animal left us for the zoo two days later,” says Sergey Burmistrov.
However, the noisiest place in the center, even compared to the kingdom of parrots, is the monkey house. Here live hooligan black mangabeys with funny tufts on their heads, lemurs with striped tails that came here from a petting zoo, Brazza monkeys with a white beard and green monkeys. And this is not just the name of the species, their coat really has a grassy tint.
Sergey Burmistrov says that monkeys often get here from various cafes and other entertainment places. It happens that they are kept in apartments and, realizing that they cannot cope, they are sent to the center.
“In fact, keeping a monkey at home is quite hectic. They do not understand the rules of conduct at all. Therefore, it ends up with a cage anyway. It’s the same with raccoons. They only run beautifully around the apartment in the video. In fact, the rest of the time they sit in a cage, because they cannot be left alone at home – they will smash everything, ”the specialist explains.
Sergei Burmistrov adds that keeping any wild animal is a lot of work. Therefore, if someone wants to do this, he must understand that he will have to spend a lot of time.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.