Barcelona to convert municipal zoo to animal sanctuary

Lone rhinoceros at Barcelona's zoo, as family watches on. Photo: Carles Ribes / El País
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► 2,000 animals from 300 species await transfer to sanctuaries worldwide
► 11 endangered species to remain at zoo pending release into wild habitat

The municipal council of Barcelona on Friday approved historic changes to the city’s animal protection statute that provide for the transfer to animal sanctuaries around the world of some 2,000 animals from 300 species currently housed in the municipal zoo.

Under the measure, only animals from 11 species currently under threat of extinction will remain at the zoo premises, where they will be bred for the sole purpose of creating a population sufficient to ensure their survival when released back into their wild natural environments.

The city has pledged 64 million euros over the next 12 years to what it says will be a groundbreaking program of breeding of endangered species for re-introduction into their natural habitats.

The move was approved with the votes of Mayor Ada Colau’s BComú coalition and the PDeCAT (Partit Demòcrata Europeu Català) and ERC (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya) parties. Representatives of the regional PSC-PSOE affiliate of the Socialist party, Ciudadanos and the Partido Popular voted against the measure, which is also opposed by unions representing workers at the zoo.

► Read More in Spanish at El Periódico and El País …

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