Lisbon Zoo still waiting

news: Lisbon Zoo still waiting

LISBON ZOO is taking the State and Lisbon Câmara to court for non-fulfilment of a contract signed five years ago that promised funding for important refurbishment works.

The contract, which was signed in May 2000, pledged an amount of 25 million euros to be split between the State and Lisbon Câmara in order for the zoo to carry out the necessary improvements to comply with new European Community regulations.

Ironically, this contract was only signed in the first place following a series of complaints

by Lisbon Zoo about the lack of support forthcoming from the authorities.

After five years of waiting and a fast approaching deadline for completion of the works (April 1, 2005), not even one cent of the agreed funding has arrived in the zoo’s bank account.

The zoo’s management could not engage a contractor to even begin the work, since it could not guarantee that their bill would be paid. After many requests for the agreement to be honoured, the funds have still not been released. Francisco Naharro Pires, chairman of the zoo’s administration, feels that every possible means of obtaining the monies has been exhausted and, therefore, there was no other option but to pursue the matter through the courts.

A new sanitation and irrigation system is needed at the zoo but has had to be abandoned for now, since funds are not available. All the zoo’s available finances are being put into building new enclosures for the animals and a sophisticated new veterinary hospital is also due for construction. Lisbon Zoo has been forced to request an extension to the deadline from the European Commission until the issue is resolved.