The Malta Independent 25 May 2024, Saturday
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Updated: Montekristo animal park closed; NGOs lash out at 'Montekristo Outrage'

Sunday, 29 November 2015, 10:51 Last update: about 9 years ago

The Montekristo animal parked has been closed with immediate effect "due to the current unforeseen circumstances the management".

This one-line statement was issued by the management in the wake of public rage following the incident at the park on Saturday.

A three-year-old boy was injured when he was attacked by a tiger.

The police said they were informed about the accident at around 4.30pm. Officers from the Qormi station went on site and found that the boy had been injured by a tiger, which at the time was being held on a leash. According to reports the tiger was being held on a leash close to a restaurant and lashed out at the boy as he walked by.

In a strongly-worded statement, NGOs today lashed out at the government for not taking any action against the illegally-built structures at Montekristo estate after a boy was injured when a tiger attacked him.

On 28 November 2014, works Department employees, together with Armed Forces of Malta and police personnel, had descended upon the abusive Montekristo estate, supposedly to demolish illegally-built structures.  This enforcement action turned out to be a sham – not only are the majority of the Montekristo abusive structures still standing but the illegal zoo is still operating as a profit-making commercial venture.  The fact that innumerable political gatherings, state-sponsored events and even a national commercial fair are held at Charles ‘Ic-Caqnu’ Polidano’s Montekristo Estate - described by MEPA as the country’s “largest illegal development” - is a sad reflection on our politicians’ lack of ethics.

Today, exactly one year to the day from the sham enforcement, eNGOs Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA), Friends of the Earth (FoE) and Ramblers are extremely dismayed that a young child was attacked and seriously injured by a tiger being walked by the Montekristo zoo restaurant.

FAA, FoE and Ramblers highlight the fact this this same tolerance, if not blessing, of illegal and unsafe practices have contributed to an unnecessary accident and the precipitation of anguish on this family. The NGOs hope the child makes a speedy recovery and that the family recuperates from this unwarranted trauma.

FAA, FoE and Ramblers reiterate their calls that the illegal Montekristo zoo infringes international standards of animal care and should be immediately shut down with the animals relocated to facilities that meet international conventions on animal care.  

It is utterly deplorable that such illegalities are allowed to continue, year in year out. What message does it send to the public? Are indeed ' some animals more equal than others?', to keep the Orwellian Animal Farm analogy?

The government has also reacted to the accident, saying that it is taking the matter seriously.

In the last two years, it said, it has taken steps against illegalities and matters are now in the courts of law.

The establishment in question also faced Mepa sanctions between September 2014 and January 2015, and some illgeal buildings were pulled down.

 

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