Story By: Gheorghi Caraseni, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
The safari park owner embattled in a legal case after one of his lions attacked a visitor has reportedly gone on hunger strike after being arrested for missing a court date.
Oleg Zubkov, 51, owner of Taigan safari park and Skazka (Fairytale) zoo in the disputed Crimean peninsula, went on hunger strike after being arrested for missing a court date on 3rd February, according to local media.
Reports said he is being held in a pre-trial detention centre where his lawyer claims he is refusing food and liquids.
The local authorities have yet to confirm that the prisoner is on hunger strike as claimed.
Tatyana Aleksagina, spokesperson for Taigan safari park, said: “We don’t know who ordered Oleg’s detention and why such a decision was made. I don’t believe the judge made it by himself.”
According to Aleksagina, Zubkov has had a tense relationship with Crimean authorities over his pro-Russia stance in 2014 when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula.
In July 2018, a lion at the safari park reportedly bit visitor Olga Solomina who said that Zubkov was nearby when it happened.
Zubkov claimed the woman was drunk at the time and was yanking the lion’s mane, according to reports.
The safari park, which boasts over 60 lions, has reportedly been closed indefinitely.
In a previous incident, a park worker was killed by a lion after colleagues allegedly declined to take the injured man to hospital and allowed him to be treated by on-site vets only, according to reports.
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.