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Wild animal sale on Facebook sparks outrage

A man who has been accused of operating an illegal zoo has angered animal rights activists after taking to Facebook to put up for sale the wild animals he has in their enclosures.

Melios Zoo Park – which is situated on the outskirts of Nicosia – is offering wild animals ‘at a cut price’ and had also been advertising ‘special prices’ for in-stock animals such as mouflons, kangaroos, foxes and various species of antelope.

The Facebook post was made on the page of the neighbouring pet centre – Melios Pet Centre – which also belongs to the same owner.

The owner of the zoo, Melios Menelaou, claimed that he was forced into put his animals up for sale due to the on-going “bureaucratic war” against him by the state which is he says is stifling his business despite having “all the necessary permits to keep the animals and operate his zoo”.

He also said that all the ‘mud-slinging’ against his name was driving him into economic ruin.

Others, however, claim that his zoo is not properly managed and that he is not properly trained to handle and look after the welfare of some of his animals.

Protests by animal rights activists have often demonstrated against Menelaou’s zoo.

Menelaou has repeatedly denied claims that his animals are not properly maintained and has accused the Veterinary Services of unfairly singling him out.

On Wednesday, the Cyprus Green Party issued an announcement to criticise the state of “inaction and indifference to the provocative behaviour of the illegal zoo ‘Melios Zoo Park’ which has been advertising the sale of wild animals over the last few days.”

Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis issued a statement later on Wednesday saying that ‘Melios Zoo Park’ was not entitled to operate as a zoo as it did not have the necessary planning, land and animal permits and that it was “illegal” for any of the animals to be put up for sale.

Kouyalis added that any efforts by Menelaou to sell the animals would see him breaking the law and that his ministry was monitoring the situation to ensure that no animals were being sold.

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