TBILISI, DFWatch–The disaster in Tbilisi has made the government bring up a plan to relocate the zoo outside the city center, to an area by Tbilisi Sea, the largest body of water near the Georgian capital.
The flood shortly after midnight June 14 killed more than 50 percent of the zoo’s animals, including bears, tigers and lions. Some animals were put down in the streets after having escaped in the flood.
Mayor Davit Narmania said on Tuesday that the zoo will be moved to the nearby lake, while the area currently used by the zoo will be made into a recreational zone.
He said constructing the highway from Heroes Square to Vake-Saburtalo pass a few years ago violated ecological conditions.
“The River Vere was directed under the bridge, trees were cut, and this brought up additional ecological issues. The animals of the zoo had problems as well. So right now we have an idea to move the zoo to near Tbilisi Sea and create an additional recreational zone where the zoo is today,” he said.
He also suggested connecting the current zoo and Mziuri park by a walking path.
“We will plant new trees to create a communal space, and also install noise reduction devices to support the protection of recreational zones, development and expenditure.”
The flood destroyed the entire lower part of the zoo. Most of the cages are flooded, while rescue workers have today been pulling dead animals and damaged cars out of the mud and debris on the zoo’s premises.
The idea of moving the zoo to Tbilisi Sea was proposed a few years ago, but such a move will cost at least USD 200-400 million, money which the zoo didn’t have.
The organization Citizen, which was created by billionaire and former prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, stated that after the storm there is support among people to help construct the new zoo.
Citizen hasn’t specified what amount of money Ivanishvili is willing to donate.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said later on Tuesday that the disaster brought the issue of zoo on the agenda and the government will help to implement the project.
“We may name the park [where the zoo is now] Solidarity Park or something like that, in the center of Tbilisi, while the zoo has to be moved to another place.”