My first days as director of Yerevan Zoo
On April 6th I was officially appointed by the municipality of Yerevan as the new director of Yerevan Zoo. Until this day I solely worked for the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC), an environmental organization, which was founded by me and some friends in 2001. In the years since then we had implemented numerous projects with the FPWC in the fields of environmental education, nature conservation, and awareness raising for nature protection. For me personally the zoo has always – since my childhood – been a sad place as I’m deeply convinced that animals have rights which should be respected by men.
In Yerevan Zoo animals have been mistreated for many decades and were kept under unbearable conditions. In cramped, dirty and dump cages they lost all the beauty and grace which is so characteristic for wild-born creatures.
I was very aware that taking over the post of the director of Yerevan Zoo would add to my responsibilities a huge task. But on the other hand I also understood clearly that the transformation of the zoo in a public space for environmental education could be a decisive step forward to initiate a great change in our society. Moreover I’m not alone, I have a great team, in particular, I’m glad that Hrach Ghazaryan and Manuk Manukyan - two of the co-founders of FPWC - are ready to face the new challenge with me. Both are great wildlife experts and Manuk is also a learnt vet. Also in the last years in the frame of the project proposal for a “National Center for Environmental Education and Biodiversity Conservation” FPWC has established a partnership with ARTIS Royal Zoo Amsterdam under its director, Haig Balian.
Thanks to this partnership Manuk has already in 2010 absolved a one month’s training in zoo keeping and animal treatment in ARTIS Zoo as FPWC’s proposal for the National Center includes a concept for animal sanctuary focused on South-Caucasian species. Now the knowledge he gained in Amsterdam is an invaluable asset for our future work in Yerevan Zoo. Taking all this into consideration I start my new assignment with optimism and the hope that Yerevan Zoo will be transformed into a place where men and animals can encounter each other with dignity.