20 famished camels stuck on Romania-Moldova border


Twenty camels bound from southeast Russia to a circus in Bulgaria were stuck and became starved and dehydrated on the border between Moldova and Romania earlier this week, a popular Russian daily said.

Komsomolskaya Pravda said the animals, who can theoretically last a month without food and two weeks without liquid, passed the Russian, Ukrainian, and Moldovan customs without a hitch and then problems began in Romania’s Albita.

“We paid for the completion of the documents but they did not let us bring the camels into the country, they even banned us from giving them food and water!”, – said Lachezar Stefanov of the Bulgarian circus agency.

The double-humped camels from Russia’s Kalmykia region ended up in a long-haul truck for 17 days until November 15 when they were sheltered by sympathetic zoo workers of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova.

“Several days is ok for them but such a long time – it is devastating,” said zoo director Alex Hantsatsuk. “One of the female camels collapsed [from exhaustion], she could not stand any more, others even began stepping on her, and a little longer – and that would have been it”.

Bulgarians appealed to Greenpeace and other international animal rights organizations.

“No response”, said Veneta Stefanova. “Nobody helped us, and we did not even expect our Moldovan colleagues to come to the rescue”.

For the time being the animals will remain at the zoo until they feel stronger and until the Bulgarian circus officials sort out the customs problems.

A similar incident took place on the Russian-Ukrainian border in the beginning of 2009, when 20 camels were held up for two weeks in freezing temperatures before being allowed to transit Ukraine. The incident resulted in the death of one animal.

Rian news

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