It all started as a zoo club – with goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and rabbits. But later, visiting circuses and menageries-tourists began to leave their pets in Norilsk, outlandish for the Far North. This is how peacocks, porcupine, deer, yaks, foxes, bear and even a couple of camels, puma Puska, panthers Marquis and Marquisa and tiger Dema appeared.
In summer, the animals went to Metallurgists square with “tours”. But, of course, there was not enough money earned to keep the animals: in 1996, the zoo corner required 100 million post-perestroika rubles a month, and itvwas announced that it should be closed and the animals to be euthanized.
At that time, local media organized the action Everyone Wants to Live: they announced a fundraiser, sent letters to Greenpeace. The whole city took part in the action: money came from banks and from children who emptied piggy banks. Someone took home foxes and rabbits, there were even those who wanted to “adopt” a tiger.
The citizens collected tens of millions of rubles, but this was not enough. Puma, panthers, peacocks and porcupine flew to the Novosibirsk circus. Small animals were distributed to school zoo clubs and kind people. But the yaks and camels were still euthanized. Norilsk zoo closed. Animal rights activists rightly believe that there is no need to repeat such an experience.
In the History Spot’s previous publication, we told about what entertainments Norilsk offered to small townspeople in different years.
Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive