Moscow Zoo denizens finding food sanctions un-bear-able

Russia’s drastic ban on food imports from Europe has claimed it first victims - the rather choosy animals at Moscow zoo. Keepers at the zoo, one of Europe’s oldest, are scrambling to adjust the menus for its animals, which rely heavily on Dutch vegetables and Polish apples. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday announced the embargo on most food imports from the EU, the United States and several other countries in a measure that includes beef, pork, fruit and vegetable produce, poultry, fish, cheese, milk and dairy products.

Almost all the animals eat fruits and vegetables except for those who eat fish. Those who eat fish are also in trouble because fish is also embargoed.

Moscow Zoo spokeswoman Anna Kachurovskaya

The zoo will now have to find new suppliers, in particular for celery and apples, and said it is very concerned about feeding the animals in the winter when Russian produce is not as readily available. Apples are a particular favourite of the zoo’s bears, an animal synonymous with Russia that for many symbolises the country’s virility and independence. Russian officials have voiced confidence that new suppliers for most imported products can be found, although certain items may be difficult to replace quickly.

So the bear eats apples. It used to eat Polish apples, now it will have to eat Russian ones. That is not the problem, the problem is we are uncertain about what we will have to confront in the winter.

Anna Kachurovskaya