Closing Lithuania's zoos
The world is changing and our attitude to wildlife and the way we preserve it must change too.
Working with our partners GATO in Lithuania, Change For Animals Foundation is supporting the campaign to end the exploitation of wild animals in Lithuania's zoos.
Lithuania now has an opportunity to act as an example to other countries by closing its zoos and replacing them with national parks dedicated to preserving native animal species.
Today in Lithuania there are 12 venues where wild animals are kept in captivity. Only five of these are officially licensed zoos, the others are private “zoo collections” that cruelly exploit wild animals purely for entertainment. 92% of the animals kept in these “zoos” are exotic, non-native species including tigers, lions, pumas, jaguars, primates and dolphins, with most of the animals having been acquired illegally.
Even the zoos that are licenced keep animals in conditions that deprive them of natural behaviours and exploit them for entertainment, by forcing them to perform demeaning activities including dolphin shows, animal displays, animals used as photo props and human/animal interactions that cause physical and mental distress.
"To date, none of the zoos in our country complies with the European Union directive or the legislation in force in Lithuania - they do not organise science-based public education, do not participate in research that contributes to the protection of endangered wildlife. Visitors mostly see only exotic animals, passively lying in ponds, on wooden beds, concrete or soil crushed by the daily monotony.” Brigita Kymantaite, GATO
"Wild animal species are not domesticated, they still retain their wild biology and behaviours. Keeping them in captivity can cause immense suffering and deprivation of natural behaviours and the practice of caging and exhibiting wild animals in zoos needs to end. Natural habitats are the only places they can truly lead full lives and carry out their natural behaviours and instincts." Harry Eckman, Change For Animals Foundation.
In Lithuania has a range of threatened native species that need protection including wild cat, flying squirrel, beaver, elk, lynx, otter and the great spotted eagle. We have an opportunity by working with GATO, the Government and policymakers, to transform how animals are considered, treated and protected.
Lithuania is capable of inspiring other countries by leading the world by ending the exploitation of animals, closing its zoos, relocating the wild animals currently held captivity to specifically designed sanctuaries suitable for natural living, and promoting national parks that can save and celebrate native animal species and their habitats.