**EXPOSE** 04/07/11 – Serbian Zoos – A Move To Improvements In Serbian Zoo Animals Living Conditions Using the EU Commission.

Over the weekend of 2/3 July 2011, we at SAV were provided with some very disturbing images by Zlata and Zoran of ‘Help Animals’, Belgrade – www.helpanimals.org.rs

In the South of Serbia, near to the city of Novi Pazar, en route to the Monastery Sopoćani, there is what is advertised as a ‘Zoo Park’.

Looking at the sign near the entrance, showing (painted) animal images; one would be led to think that this facility is a haven for wild creatures.  This could be nothing further from the truth !

‘Welcome to the Zoo’ – What You Will See

As can be seen from the very recent photographs below, this alleged ‘zoo’ is nothing but a living hell for all the animals which exist there – they do not live, they simply exists.

The ‘zoo’ has the following wild animals under its ‘care’ in the most disgusting conditions:

    • 2 adult wolves in one cage around 8 meters square
    • 2 adult lions and 1 lioness
    • 1 young tiger
    • 1 adult bear
    • 1 fox
    • 1 dog in a very small cage
    • A few rabbits












Alarmed by the photographs, we at SAV today, 04/07/11, immediately contacted the ‘Born Free Foundation (BFF)’ who are also here in England, Uk, like us.  BFF were supplied with copies of some of the photographs (7 initially) supplied to us (SAV) by Zlata / Zoran.

BFF operate a special section in their organization – called ‘Zoo Check’, a section who keep information on all zoos across Europe.  At the moment, BFF is preparing a large report for the EU Commission on zoo conditions and legislation right across Europe (EU) in its series of investigative reports called ‘EU Zoo Enquiry 2011’.

Link:  http://www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/zoo-check/zoos/eu-zoo-inquiry/

The ‘EU Zoo Enqury 2011’ is an independent study, which has not been instigated by the European Commission.  However, the (EU) Commission is fully aware of the investigation and its objectives, and officials have expressed an interest to carefully examine the study’s outcomes, which we understand will be completed during 2011.

After discussions with BFF, SAV were informed that as Serbia is currently NOT a member state of the EU, information on Serbian zoos was not being included.  But we had pleasure in being informed by BFF that if any information on Serbian zoos could be provided to them, they (BFF) would include a ‘Serbian’ section in addition to their 21 nation reports of zoos throughout the European Union.

Serbia is not currently an existing EU member state; but accession (membership) should be granted to Serbia in the near future.  And so after discussions with BFF, it was felt that as a potential (EU) member state in the near future, the state of Serbian zoos should be included as part of the overall series of European nation zoo reports being prepared for presentation to the EU Commission.

The aim of the BFF ‘EU Zoo Inquiry 2011’ is to evaluate the implementation and enforcement of the EC Directive 1999/22 (relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos), its transposition into national law, national enforcement of that law and the status and performance of zoos in compliance with their legal requirements.

In order to ensure a constructive approach and to seek solutions for any failings identified by the investigation, the Born Free Foundation and ENDCAP Member NGOs are keen to open dialogue with the respective national government, before information is provided to the European Commission.

Access to the current investigation (individual country) comprehensive reports produced by BFF can be viewed via the following link.  Note this is only a small percentage of those scheduled to be completed as the overall presentation:


After today’s discussions with BFF, both SAV and Serbian animal welfare organisations will now commence work to try and give BFF as much information as we possibly can about the situation in existing Serbian zoos, in order that a specialist ‘Serbian’ report can also be produced and included as part of the country ‘package’ being prepared for the EU Commission. 

We feel that by doing this, we can exert pressure on the Serbian authorities in the following ways:

  • By fully exposing the current situation of Serbian zoos to the EU Commission at the exact time when Serbia is wishing to gain EU membership,
  • By making the Serbian authorities work much more with the EU zoo standards as defined in (EU) EC Directive 1999/22
  • By making Serbian authorities work harder to ensure that Serbian zoo laws are nationally enforced
  • By naming those in authority who are failing Serbian zoo animals.

When Serbia becomes an EU member state; if we find that these EU regulations are not being enforced and adhered to by national authorities, then we will have no hesitation in taking the issues and our evidence further to the EU Commission and the legal affairs departments of the EU.

Information for the ‘Serbian zoos’ section of this EU Commission report which we are now aiming to provide to BFF with, will then give an opportunity for the Competent Authority in the Member State (ie. Serbia) to identify actions, or to develop a work plan that will address the identified shortfalls.

Please remember – these reports of all EU member nation zoos will not be completed yet as there is still work to be done throughout this year; but it is an important factor that we have now agreed with BFF that information on Serbian zoos will be reported on and provided to the EU Commission in the near future. BFF are looking at using the information for each nation to then assist national authorities to ensure that each nations national zoo legislation is being implemented. 

Existing EU legislation – Zoos are defined as ‘all permanent establishments where animals of wild species are kept for exhibition to the public for 7 or more days a year’. (Council Directive 1999/22/EC of 29 March 1999 relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos)

This will even include looking and making recommendations to the EU Commission if it is considered that a zoo should be closed down and the animals re-homed. 

And so now we are working in cooperation with some Serbian animal welfare organizations to further investigate national zoo legislation and to obtain as much evidence relating to non-compliance with any legislation that we can.  Things have only just started to move for Serbian zoo animals, but we are determined to try and prevent scenes such as those in the photographs above from becoming the ‘norm’ in Serbia once it has become an EU member state.

Finally, the man responsible for the enforcement of legislation in Serbian zoos is one Oliver Dulich – Minister in the Serbian government since July 2008 for Environment and Spatial Planning.  Information on him can be found at:


SAV would like to thank ‘Help Animals’ Belgrade for providing essential evidence in this investigation.