Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

RBTH Presents: Moscow Zoopark: Keeping Giraffes Safe for 150 Years

00 Moscow Zoopark 01.18.02.14

On 15 February, the Moscow Zoopark will begin its 150th anniversary celebration. It opened in 1864 under a decree issued by Tsar Aleksandr II Nikolayevich.

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00 Moscow Zoopark 02.18.02.14

The zoo began in a city park designed for strolling along the Patriarch’s Ponds in Presnensky Raion in Moscow. Back then, it was the first zoo in the Russian Empire, now, it’s one of the largest zoos in the world.

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00 Moscow Zoopark 03.18.02.14

Anatoly Bogdanov, professor of zoölogy and anthropology at Moscow University, was one of the main initiators for the zoo’s creation. He called it an “open-air living museum”.

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00 Moscow Zoopark 04.18.02.14

When the Moscow Zoopark opened, it had 134 domestic animals, 153 wild animals and birds, and 7 reptiles. Muscovites’ favourites amongst the exotic animals were lions, leopards, and the rhinoceros.

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00 Moscow Zoopark 05.18.02.14

Today, the Moscow Zoopark’s collection of mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians is one of the largest and most exceptional in the world. It has 8,000 animals from 1,000 species.

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00 Moscow Zoopark 06.18.02.14

The zoo survived hard times during the Russian Revolution and the Great Patriotic War. However, people who truly loved animals worked here. They kept watch of their pets around the clock, even when incendiary bombs fell on the city. They brought blankets from their homes to cover the enclosures’ broken windows and comforted the animals during airstrikes.

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00 Moscow Zoopark 06a.18.02.14

In the 1990s, the Moscow Zoopark started a reconstruction; it built 50 new enclosures. Due to the enormous construction efforts, it became difficult to hold the animals, some of which had to be temporarily transferred to other zoos, including those in neighboring countries. Some of the monkeys went to a Ukrainian zoo.

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00 Moscow Zoopark 07.18.02.14

New exhibits displayed rare animals that hadn’t previously been in zoos, like Asiatic lions, Grévy’s zebras, South African giraffes, and Indian elephants.

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00 Moscow Zoopark 08.18.02.14

The Moscow Zoopark participates in many international programmes to maintain and breed rare animal species; it exchanges animals with many zoos throughout the world.

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00 Moscow Zoopark 09.18.02.14                                                                        

Samson the Giraffe, a male reticulated giraffe, is one of the symbols of the Moscow Zoopark.

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14 February 2014

Russia Behind the Headlines

http://rbth.ru/multimedia/pictures/2014/02/14/moscow_zoo_keeping_giraffes_safe_for_150_years_34205.html

Editor’s Note:

The Moscow Zoopark protested the putting down of Marius the Giraffe by the København Zoo most strenuously. Of course, we all know that it caused quite an international stink, didn’t it? There was no need to have killed Marius; many other zoos were ready to take him in. As the Moscow Zoopark put it, “Keeping Giraffes Safe for 150 years”.

BMD

Click here for the Moscow Zoopark website

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Golden Time for Silver Age Volunteers at the Olympic Games

00 Sochi Olympics. 18.02.14

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If you’re in Sochi for the Winter Olympics this month, you might notice elderly men and women telling foreign visitors where to see the sights in town, manning the areas where big screens show the Game’s events, or even filling empty seats at Olympic events if needed. They’re all part of Leonid Lyubimov’s Silver Age volunteers, which started up three years ago, and now has more than 500 members. The group, with members aged between 46 and 85, organises from 35 to 40 events a month, from helping to clear waterways of trash to cleaning local landmarks and fixing up badly planted trees. Lyubimov, an energetic, grey-haired 71-year-old, said in an interview in the small office where he sat with his two deputies in downtown Sochi, “People usually feel that the elderly need to be helped, but we decided to do the reverse. We help ourselves, organise ourselves”.

Now retired, Lyubimov spent most of his professional life at a scientific institute in Novosibirsk, in Siberia, but he always dreamed of moving somewhere warm. He had maps of Crimea on his wall, almost moved to Cyprus, but eventually plumped for Sochi. He said that when Sochi became the venue for the Winter Olympics it provided a push to start the volunteer movement, “It’s interesting for us to live in a city where the Olympic Games will take place”. He said that the Silver Age volunteers all remembered the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, adding, “To live through that was great, but to see another such event is super”.

He’s particularly proud that the group came up from the grassroots and not by government command, although Silver Age gets support from the city and local governments. With a structure that harks back to the Soviet Vladimir Lenin all-Union Pioneer Organisation, Lyubimov said that his group could drum up a few dozen volunteers in less than an hour. Many of them had English lessons in preparation for the Games “so at least we can explain how to get to the toilet”, as well as lessons in dealing with the public and with foreigners… skills not well honed in Soviet times.

Lyubimov said, “We love the city; although it’s no secret that many people in Sochi say, ‘Why do we need the Olympic Games?’ But we’ve built a new city”. Seventy of the volunteers shall take part as actors in a Chekhov-inspired part of the Paralympics opening ceremony slated for March. One member, a retired doctor, wrote an anthem for the group and the Silver Age has its own flag too. Lyubimov sees the group as for not only the Games, saying, “The Olympics will end, but we’ll continue to work. Our main aim is to wake up those who have become indifferent”.

7 February 2014

Kevin O’Flynn

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/analysis/20140207/187269738/Golden-Time-for-Silver-Age-Volunteers-at-the-Olympic-Games.html

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18 February 2014. This Needs NO Input from Me…

00 Muslim Imam at the Christmas Readings. 18.02.14

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I’ve only got three words to add to HH‘s wisdom… “Read n’ heed”. ‘Nuff said, kids… you have know when to shut up as well as to when to speak out…

BMD

18 February 2014. One of the Most Disgusting Things I’ve Seen on the Web Yet…

money

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No, it wasn’t porno… no, it wasn’t rightwing rubbish… no, it wasn’t some religious hobbyist spouting rank nonsense. It was a piece entitled, 10 Wealthy People Who Never Worked A Day In Their Life. THIS sort of trashy panegyric incarnates the godless greedster agenda of modern “Greed is Good” “conservatism”… not the “One Nation” Conservatism of Burke, Disraeli, Stolypin, Franco, or Diefenbaker… the “Me First” “conservatism” of Limbaugh, Coulter, Romney, Cameron, or Harper. Those praised in the article are the amoral charlatans that the Right puts up as exemplars. These people stole (and steal) their massive wealth from our labour. Their incomes rose 275 percent since 1981, ours are at 85 percent of that level. They look rather normal, don’t they? In fact, they look BETTER than most of us do. That is, evil does NOT wear horns and hooves set off by red tights and a leer. Evil dresses better than you and I do and it doesn’t raise its voice. Don’t be fooled, such sorts are MORE dangerous than the loudmouths are… they’ve stolen enough to control society, and they won’t give up that Robber Baron position easily. As Warren Buffett said, there’s been a class war… the rich started it and they’re ahead in it now. Do note how they’ve repressed the true history of how socialism succeeded in the New Deal and World War II (and demonised anything even slightly leftist here and abroad… reflect on that when you hear certain loud sorts bandy about the word “commie“).

These people are the enemies of everything decent and good. After all, Our Lord Christ only used the knout once… You have made My Father’s House into a den of thieves!  Bear that in mind the next time you read a rant by the usual cast of suspects, with their sycophantic apologias for the Republican Party. I stand with Gennady AndreyevichChrist WAS the first communist. I’m NOT alone…

BMD

 

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