Activists rescue deposed Kyrgyz dictator’s starved leopards

Posted on Earth Times : Fri, 28 May 2010 10:48:55 GMT

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – Activists have rescued 23 starving wild animals, including bears and wolves, from a private menagerie belonging to deposed Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, but said Friday they arrived too late to save a couple of snow leopards.

The animals, neglected since Bakiyev’s ouster early last month, were trucked from Bakiyev’s former luxury compound at Jalal-Abad in the south of Kyrgyzstan to a nature-protection site at Karakol, said Leif Miller, head of German nature group NABU.

Among the survivors was one snow leopard, but two were already dead when the NABU staff arrived. There are estimated to be only 350 snow leopards left in the wild in Kyrgyzstan. Birds of prey in the collection included two black kites and an eagle.

“The animals don’t seem to have been fed since he was overthrown,” said Miller from NABU’s office in Berlin. Bakiyev has fled to Belarus.

Bakiyev was not the only regional leader with a menagerie: Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov reportedly owns lions and rare Siberian tigers.,activists-rescue-deposed-kyrgyz-dictators-starved-leopards.html