From cats to rhinos, Greek crisis takes a toll on animals

The Greek crisis is a man-made problem.

And now, because of it, the animals are suffering too:

ATHENS: Hundreds of cats are loose on the streets, and food is running low for some residents of Athens’ zoo. It isn’t just humans who are suffering as Greece tries to claw its way out of economic crisis. “I’ll have to call the bank again,” sighed Jean-Jacques Lesueur, the founder of Athens’ only zoo. The Frenchman had been trying for days to place a 6,000 euro (US$ 6,600) order of frozen fish for the zoo’s six dolphins. Without fresh supplies from abroad, he feared he would have to put them on a diet. Normally the order would be simple enough, but Greece imposed strict capital controls on June 29 as panicked account holders began emptying the nation’s banks.

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And about the abandoned and unneutered pets:

Evgenia Mataragka, of the charity Animal Action Greece, said she had seen a “huge increase” in the number of abandoned pets over the last six months. “In big cities they do not starve usually,” she said. “But on the islands, especially for the cats, it is difficult. Once the tourists are gone, many die of starvation.” Others get poisoned when they eat things they shouldn’t, she added.

The cats are not neutered, said Mataragka, contributing to an explosion in the stray population.

Both Nine Lives and Animal Action Greece are increasingly turning to foreign donors. “In Greece we all have problems. Nobody can help,” said Mataragka. -AFP

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Jonas Salk

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