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Moscow Zoo Sheds Its Old Soviet Look

August 11, 1996|REUTERS

Moscow's zoo, decrepit and crumbling in the Soviet era, has been transformed into a modern facility, thanks to a helping hand from Moscow's powerful mayor. Tiny cages with rusting steel bars have been mostly replaced by spacious, landscaped enclosures for Amur tigers, Tibetan bears and American coyotes. Rutted, muddy paths have been replaced by newly cobbled walkways.

Parts of the zoo are still in transition: Cranes and truckloads of concrete dot the 50-acre site, and some of the animals are in temporary housing.

The zoo is one of several high-profile projects backed by Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who was reelected in June with nearly 90% of the vote. His support means the zoo has access to reliable workers and building materials. After its facelift, the zoo reopened in May to daily crowds of up to 70,000. Admission is 5,000 rubles (about $1), a bargain in overpriced Moscow.

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