Fri, Feb 29, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Cold snap claims animals at zoos in Kaohsiung, Taipei

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Cold weather has resulted in the deaths of four green iguanas at Kaohsiung City's Shoushan Zoo and also claimed the lives of a leopard and five tortoises at the Taipei City Zoo.

Chen Po-tsai (陳柏材), deputy section chief of Shoushan Zoo, said yesterday that several animals had suffered as a result of the weather, obliging the zoo to purchase additional heaters.

Among the animals that suffered most from the cold at the zoo were chimpanzees, orangutans, sloths and reptiles, he said.

Four green iguanas had died, he said.

The Kaohsiung City Government's Bureau of Economic Affairs began a review of the zoo in late April last year and came up with a comprehensive plan to transform the organization.

The review came after the zoo made international headlines when a crocodile bit off the left forearm of veterinarian Chang Po-yu (張博宇) on April 11 last year.

Two months previously, a chimpanzee bit off part of a three-year-old boy's finger after his father held him too close to the animal's enclosure.

Having come under the spotlight, the zoo was forced to admit that it held a "wedding ceremony" for two female elephants five years ago and that a pair of raccoons had fled their enclosure and remained unaccounted for.

Meanwhile at the Taipei Zoo, the cold has claimed the lives of a leopard and five red-footed tortoises this month.

Taipei Zoo spokesman Chin Shih-chien (金仕謙) said 21-year-old leopard Spotty, weakened by chronic kidney and heart illness, had succumbed to the cold weather.

He said the tortoises were also weakened by disease.

"Our examination [of the red-footed tortoises] showed that they suffered from enteritis, pneumonia and malnutrition," Chin said.

The Taipei Zoo had also purchased more heaters, he said.

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