For about two years the group of ten chimpanzees at Magdeburg Zoo (Germany) has been housed exclusively in an indoor enclosure.
In August 2021, PETA Germany filed a criminal complaint against the zoo officials, because according to the requirements of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for the keeping of mammals, the great apes must also have access to an outdoor enclosure.
According to media reports, the animals are permanently locked inside for security reasons, as two of the chimpanzees broke out of the outdoor enclosure in September 2019.
Safety deficiencies at the chimpanzee house, opened in 2014: monkeys suffer from animal welfare behavior
The zoo officials speak of “zoo-horticultural defects” in the planning of the enclosure, which means that the outdoor enclosure is not escape-proof.
The 3.1 million expensive new chimpanzee house in Magdeburg was only opened in 2014.
In this new building, wooden palisades were erected in the outdoor area, in which small holes formed over the years.
The chimpanzees used this as an opportunity to climb up the stockade and jump out.
Since then, the animals have only been confined in the indoor enclosure in order to avoid further outbreaks and accidents.
The deficiencies are now to be remedied by another new building by 2023, which would again cost the city just under two million euros.
The city council is expected to make a decision on the construction plans in September.
For the chimpanzees, this would mean at least two more years, during which the animals would have to endure under completely indisputable conditions.
The city and zoo of Magdeburg have to find a solution for the welfare of the animals. Now!
We criticize the years of inactivity by the authorities and zoo managers and demand that a solution be found as soon as possible so that the chimpanzees at least don’t have to stay inside.
In addition, we are calling on the city politicians and the zoo to completely phase out the captivity of great apes in the Magdeburg zoo.
“It is a crime to imprison great apes.
They are innocent prisoners who want to be free – attempts to break out like 2019 in Magdeburg are therefore not surprising.
It is absolutely unacceptable that no action has been taken here long ago and that the animals should remain incarcerated in the chimpanzee prison for at least another two years. Instead, the zoo should generally end chimpanzee husbandry. “
Dr. Yvonne Würz, PETA Germany
Great apes can never be kept appropriately in zoos
Appropriate keeping of great apes – our closest relatives in the animal kingdom – is not possible in captivity in zoos.
The needs of great apes are so complex that no zoo can offer them a species-appropriate habitat: In nature, chimpanzees live together in groups with a flexible social structure, which at times can comprise several dozen animals.
They take up a living space that can be up to 65 square kilometers.
It is extremely psychologically stressful for great apes to be forced to “live” in captivity.
The decisive factor here is the captivity situation itself and not the specific housing conditions: Even structural changes such as enlarged enclosures cannot resolve the system-related inadequate housing and the associated animal suffering.
In zoos they therefore often develop significant behavioral disorders such as self-mutilation, compulsive rocking of the upper body and eating their own excrement.
In some cases, zoos give the animals psychotropic drugs so that they can endure the lifelong dreary captivity and their suffering is less noticeable to the visitors.
Contrary to what is often claimed, animals that have spent their lives in the zoo can no longer be released into the wild: In their prisons, they cannot learn important behaviors for survival in nature.
However, zoological institutions invest millions in taxpayers’ money in expensive and questionable breeding programs and costly construction projects.
With measures to preserve the natural habitat of the animals, on the other hand, more great apes could be sustainably protected than is ever possible in zoos.
For great apes, imprisonment in a zoo is equivalent to life imprisonment for us. 🖊️ Sign the petition: https://www.peta.de/kampagnen/menschenaffen/
And I mean...For a number of years, one scandal has followed another in the Magdeburg Zoo.
Kai Perret, was director of the zoo in Magdeburg from 2003, and was released on January 30, 2020 with immediate effect.
Employees accuse him of endangering animal welfare.
The mayor of Magdeburg wanted to “take the zoo boss out of the line of fire” and released him.
The public prosecutor’s office is now dealing with the allegations.
The first trial came in 2008 when he had three healthy baby tigers killed after it was discovered that they were not purebred!
In his opinion, the tigers did not fit into the international breeding program because the father was not a pure-bred Siberian tiger.
Perret and two employees were charged.
The zoo also made negative headlines in 2019 when two giraffes died and an elephant was seriously injured.
Female giraffe Femke gave birth to a dead calf in May and died shortly afterwards as a result of childbirth.
Cow elephant Mwana was seriously injured in November 2019 when she trapped her trunk in a gate in the enclosure.
Trying to break free, she tore off four inches of her trunk.
A zookeeper had not received this. Only when Mwana roared did he stop the gate.
The veterinary office rated the incident as an accident. A culpable act in terms of animal welfare was not recognized at that time.
The then zoo director Kai Perret said of the incident: “Accident! accidents also happen in nature” !!
In connection with this, a video emerged in which a keeper apparently beats an elephant.
Obviously cruelty to animals has long been a tradition at Magdeburg Zoo.
And because this cruelty to animals brings money into the cash register, no zoo director is interested, regardless of who, whether the chimpanzees remain imprisoned in closed rooms for no reason.
My best regards to all, Venus