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Old 29.09.2011, 23:17
 
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Monkey on the Loose!!!

Ok, here we go again... I know I'm going to pick up quite a few groans for this, but yes, I've written another letter. It's in aid of a poor little defenseless animal this time. (No, before anyone else says it, not my husband but a monkey.)

A little background to begin with. There is an awful godforsaken place in Magliaso, Ticino that calls itself a zoo. Certainly it has a wide selection of animals, all in minuscule, quite dilapidated cages with no respect paid to their needs and natural behaviours.

I visited the place not long after moving to Lugano, I walked round in shock at the state of the place, cracked pathways, overgrown with weeds and nettles, as were the enclosures. Finally after just managing to locate two poor lions behind a thick screen of weeds much taller than me, I had seen quite enough and was in tears on the way home. It honestly was like being in some sort of time warp from the 60's. Nothing seemed to have been updated or even maintained since then.

Now having researched the extraordinarily strict animal protection legislation in place in Switzerland I am dumbfounded at how this place is allowed to remain open, and how come nobody has been prosecuted for cruelty since then. Even if this place is 'legal' it is a disgrace.

Dear Sirs,

I am sorry but my written Italian is not good enough, so I will tell you in English.

A friend of mine, Mr. GB, who lives in Pura, was working outside yesterday afternoon when he spotted a monkey on the loose in his garden. Mr GB immediately phoned the zoo at Magliaso who confirmed that a monkey had escaped one hour previous to his call. They made absolutely no attempt to come and recapture the monkey, and have not since rung the caller back.

The monkey after a short time left Mr GB's garden and is still on the loose in the area. Mr GB has provided me with video footage and photos of the monkey as I found the uncaring attitude of the staff at the zoo very disturbing and agreed to pursue the matter on his behalf. The animal will doubtless suffer and ultimately perish in the cold winter ahead and in the meantime presents a risk to local wildlife and residents. It is quite disgusting that the housing of these animals is so dilapidated that animals are able to escape in the first place, and that the people responsible obviously do not care enough about their welfare (or the welfare of the community that they operate in) to even follow up the matter. I am writing to you in the hope that, as you are responsible for animal welfare for the Canton, you will treat this as a serious matter and investigate the incident further.

Last edited by Longbyt; 30.09.2011 at 09:51. Reason: Have replaced actual name with 'the caller'. If this isn't OK, PM me please.
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Old 29.09.2011, 23:56
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

I won't groan you as I'm not a fan of zoos since I find them somewhat absurd, even in the most pristine condition as, while I think it's great to show children diversity of the biosphere, at the same time it makes me sad that the animals are imprisoned. The elephants at the zurich zoo alone make me sad since their enclosure is so small. Even as a child zoos made me sad since it's like being a tourist in a prison.

I hope the monkey gets taken care of
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Old 30.09.2011, 00:05
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

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I won't groan you as I'm not a fan of zoos since I find them somewhat absurd, even in the most pristine condition as, while I think it's great to show children diversity of the biosphere, at the same time it makes me sad that the animals are imprisoned. The elephants at the zurich zoo alone make me sad since their enclosure is so small. Even as a child zoos made me sad since it's like being a tourist in a prison.

I hope the monkey gets taken care of
My mother cannot visit zoos as she end up in tears . I don't like them either and even for the animals that have grown up in captivity, I'm sure something inside of them yearns for being free. They probably don't know exactly what it is but they can feel it. I hope I'm making sense.

Anyway, I really hope that monkey doesn't suffer and I hope the people who run the zoo read your letter with open hearts.

Heart-breaking story Jasmine28
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Old 30.09.2011, 00:14
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

I've been to the zoo in Magliaso once... an experience I do not wish to repeat.

While all zoos are a form of artificial confinement of animals, an idea some people may reject on principle, some zoos at least put an effort into trying to provide animals with conditions as similar as possible to their natural environment or at least conditions that meet their basic needs. Not in Magliaso, though, as far as I witnessed.

First of all, "zoo" is a bit of an overstatement. The place doesn't look like a modern zoo, it is more like an old menagerie, someone's personal collection of caged exotic animals on display (a kind of things that was popular centuries ago). The animals in Magliaso are (or were, when I visited it) confined inside cages or enclosures that are visibly too small and empty.

I still have the image of a neurotic mother raccoon stuck in mind, which kept running frantically in circles along the cage, carrying her baby and looking for a place where to hide it, in vain. The gibbons were an even more upsetting view.

Most animals where in a similar agitated or distressed state. The way the zoo is managed has raised controversy in the past, but apparently the powers that be declared that the way animals are kept there is perfectly legal...

Sad.
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Old 30.09.2011, 00:15
 
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

I feel really mixed about the whole topic myself. I think zoos have their place as some do very valuable conservation work and the people who work there have a real passion for the animals they take care of.

However the best place for wild animals is without question in the wild, not in any sort of enclosure - whatever condition it is in. Yet, with the habitats of many animals being destroyed at the rate at which they are, hopefully zoos can play some part in retaining species which we would otherwise lose entirely. I think they can also help children appreciate the value and beauty of these creatures by seeing them so close up.

Still, Magliaso is heartbreaking to see. I wish I had never set eyes on the place. And the poor monkey, I keep thinking of it lost and alone without the members of its family. I hope someone manages to find the poor thing.
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Old 30.09.2011, 00:28
 
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

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I've been to the zoo in Magliaso once... an experience I do not wish to repeat.

While all zoos are a form of artificial confinement of animals, an idea some people may reject on principle, some zoos at least put an effort into trying to provide animals with conditions as similar as possible to their natural environment or at least conditions that meet their basic needs. Not in Magliaso, though, as far as I witnessed.

First of all, "zoo" is a bit of an overstatement. The place doesn't look like a modern zoo, it is more like an old menagerie, someone's personal collection of caged exotic animals on display (a kind of things that was popular centuries ago). The animals in Magliaso are (or were, when I visited it) confined inside cages or enclosures that are visibly too small and empty.

I still have the image of a neurotic mother raccoon stuck in mind, which kept running frantically in circles along the cage, carrying her baby and looking for a place where to hide it, in vain. The gibbons were an even more upsetting view.

Most animals where in a similar agitated or distressed state. The way the zoo is managed has raised controversy in the past, but apparently the powers that be declared that the way animals are kept there is perfectly legal...

Sad.

Couldn't agree more with everything you mentioned - there was a notable lack of any sort of sensory stimuli for the animals, which I'm sure accounted for the very abnormal patterns of behaviour that were so evident. The poor creatures were utterly deprived of space and ability to follow normal behaviours.

I know that sadly you are right about it being legal, but I sent the email to the Federal and Cantonal Veterinary Office who hopefully will be none too happy with either the procedures in place or the state of the enclosures that allowed this escape to happen, and their apparent lack of concern at the welfare of the animal in question. I also sent the email to the local comune in question, and for good measure to the local paper too.
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Old 30.09.2011, 00:40
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

BTW, Jasmine, I've translated the letter into Italian for you. I have removed the sentence in which you say that you are writing in English. The parts in red are something I added that were not in your original text, but which make the letter sound more "natural" in Italian.



Gentili signori,

Vi scrivo perché ieri pomeriggio un mio amico, il signor G.B., che vive a Pura, stava lavorando all'esterno quando ha notato una scimmia in libertà nel suo giardino. Il signor G.B. ha immediatamente telefonato allo zoo di Magliaso, da cui ha ricevuto conferma che una scimmia era fuggita per l'appunto un'ora prima della sua chiamata. Nonostante ciò, i responsabili dello zoo non hanno fatto nulla per cercare di catturare la scimmia e da allora non hanno più contattato il signor xxx.

Dopo qualche tempo, la scimmia ha lasciato il giardino del signor G.B. ed è ancora in libertà nella zona. Il signor G.B. ha provveduto a consegnarmi foto e filmati dell'animale, in quanto personalmente ho trovato riprovevole l'atteggiamento indifferente dello staff dello zoo e ho accettato di seguire personalmente la questione per suo conto. L'animale senza dubbio patirà parecchio e finirà col perire durante il freddo inverno in arrivo e frattanto rappresenta un pericolo per la fauna selvatica locale e i residenti. E' riprovevole che la struttura in cui questi animali sono tenuti sia in tali cattive condizioni che essi abbiano la possibilità di fuggire così facilmente, e che le persone responsabili palesemente non si curino abbastanza del loro benessere (o del benessere della comunità presso cui esercitano la loro attività) da risolvere la faccenda. Vi scrivo nella speranza che, in qualità di responsabili del trattamento degli animali del Cantone, affronterete la questione con la dovuta serietà e vorrete investigare oltre questo incidente.

Cordiali saluti,

[your name here]

Last edited by Longbyt; 30.09.2011 at 11:05. Reason: Have removed name in Italien text. Please contact me if this is overstepping my 'powers'.
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Old 30.09.2011, 00:47
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

You were right to complain. Let's hope the monkey finds his way back home when it gets cooler.

I am waiting for Tom to write "That's how we do things in Ticino"

Last edited by Ittigen; 30.09.2011 at 14:13.
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Old 30.09.2011, 00:50
 
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

Oops I didn't mean to leave his name in, yes it is the same person. I hope he isn't too mad at me if he spots the thread. It's been a long week, what can I say?

That is so very kind of you to do the translation for me. Much better in Italian and I can now send that on if I get any replies saying they cannot understand/ need clarification. I really appreciate it
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Old 30.09.2011, 00:56
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

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Oops I didn't mean to leave his name in, yes it is the same person. I hope he isn't too mad at me if he spots the thread. It's been a long week, what can I say?

That is so very kind of you to do the translation for me. Much better in Italian and I can now send that on if I get any replies saying they cannot understand/ need clarification. I really appreciate it
No prob. Cheers.
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Old 30.09.2011, 00:59
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

Jasmine, may I suggest that you follow your email up with a recorded delivery letter to the Cantonal Vets Office. They are obliged to reply. Excellent move to get the local Press involved! Good luck - I hope something positive is done for these poor animals
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Old 30.09.2011, 09:15
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

Good luck Jasmine, I hope the poor monkey is found and reunited with his/her family, hopefully somewhere better than the zoo, which I will make a point of never visiting.
We have visited Zurich zoo a few times, and generally found it pretty good, apart from the elephants, which as stated before are in a relatively small enclosure. The bull elephant was (at the time) in a tiny part of the enclosure on his own because one of the females doesn't get on with him . Also one or two of the others seemed to be stressed, repetitive behaviour etc. I found this very upsetting. The good news though is that a new, larger enclosure is being built, unfortunately it won't be ready for a while yet. I am in two minds about zoos, they are like prisons, but they do have breeding programmes and are helping endangered species.
Good luck again, I hope your letter, emails etc go some way in improving the lives of the animals in the zoo at Magliaso, and the monkey is found and given the care it needs.
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Old 30.09.2011, 09:23
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

looks like this place is off the list of places to visit in Ticino - sounds even worse than Swiss Miniatur!.....
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Old 30.09.2011, 09:53
 
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

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Jasmine, may I suggest that you follow your email up with a recorded delivery letter to the Cantonal Vets Office. They are obliged to reply. Excellent move to get the local Press involved! Good luck - I hope something positive is done for these poor animals

I absolutely will send a recorded copy of the letter (in Italian) if I fail to get a response from the emails I sent yesterday. I would never normally consider going to a newspaper but I think, given what this awful place is like, and (quite rightly) the amount of bad press and disapproval it has collected in the past it can only serve to add pressure to get the dump closed down.
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Old 10.10.2011, 03:47
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

Looks like they've got him back!

And according to the article, legal steps are also being taken against the "Zoo". Apparently local animal rights groups have been demanding for years for the place to be closed down.
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Old 10.10.2011, 05:24
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

the old-fashioned idea of zoos caging animals purely for spectacle and amusement is disgusting and absurd. Nevertheless, there are some good ones out there (e.g. the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and they do provide a valuable source to preventing the extinction of endangered species and providing educational opportunities to children and adults alike. Of course the top zoo in the world is the Singapore Zoo. Highly recommended! I heard a story once where tourists were told "no flash photography" and one of the zoo employees actually took a tourists camera away from them for not turning their flash off.

Zoos like the one described by the OP should be required to move their animals to modern zoos, shut down or reconstruct their exhibits to meet modern standards, and to engage in conservation programs that benefit wildlife in a changing global environment.

I hope the runaway monkey went home for lunch. But if I had been kept in a cage, I'd rather take my chances in the snow.
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Old 10.10.2011, 11:01
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Re: Monkey on the Loose!!!

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I heard a story once where tourists were told "no flash photography" and one of the zoo employees actually took a tourists camera away from them for not turning their flash off.
A month ago we went to the Barcelona Aquarium and a woman kept taking pictures with the flash on, when you could see warning everywhere saying ''no flash''. I did my noisy one and told her to close that damn thing!
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