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Ukraine Zoo Director Says Animal Poisonings Politically Motivated

The zoo in Yalta is run by a prominent politician.

The zoo in Yalta is run by a prominent politician.

YALTA, Ukraine -- The Ukrainian State Science and Research Institute in Kyiv confirms that 10 animals in the Crimean Zoo died earlier this year as a result of poisoning, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

The 10 rare animals in Yalta's Kazka (Fairy Tale) Zoo suddenly died one after another in March and April. Institute officials say the animals were poisoned by a highly toxic drug that is not available in regular drug stores.

Zoo director Oleg Zubkov told RFE/RL that he gave the forensic test results to Crimean police and urged them to find the perpetrator.

Zubkov, who is a well-known Crimean politician, says the poisoning of the animals in his zoo was meant as a message to him, as he has enemies in business and politics.

He added that the animals were poisoned after Yalta's prosecutor was sacked for allegedly taking bribes, and claimed that the prosecutor's nephew has been trying to take over a property in front of the zoo which is currently a parking lot.