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Barcelona Zoo investigated for death of nine birds during Storm Gloria in 2020

ZooXXI activists demand closure of aviary where animals died, including three marbled ducks, an endangered species


31 December 2021 09:51 AM


ACN | Barcelona

The Barcelona Zoo is under investigation after the death of nine birds in the premises in January 2020, coinciding with Storm Gloria, which swept through Catalonia.

The Catalan government is looking into a possible "very serious" breach of the animal protection law, consisting of keeping the animals in inappropriate facilities, not following the established hygiene, health, and welfare criteria.

As the investigation is still underway, the Catalan climate action, food and rural agenda ministry has provisionally imposed a €28,251 fine – ZooXXI animal rights organization believes the amount should be higher.

In January 2020, heavy rains and winds caused several rivers to burst their banks and major damages across Catalonia, including Barcelona, which saw much of its beaches gone.

'Inadequate' aviary

In the capital's zoo, nine birds died those days: five pied avocets, a blacksmith lapwing, and three marbled ducks, an endangered species.

They all died in an aviary that, according to the government, "was and is inadequate," because it offers no interior space that allows animals shelter in the event of severe weather, as the law establishes.

The arguments behind the provisional fine also include the fact that it was not the first time that birds died in similar circumstances, with five perishing during another storm in 2019.

"The birds had to bear again severe weather conditions without any possibility to shelter," reads the investigation.

ZooXXI not only calls on authorities to raise the amount of the fine but also to demand the closure of the deadly aviary.

"These episodes are affecting the goals of preservation, animal welfare and safety, and the education and training of people that the zoo should achieve," said Anna Mulà, legal coordinator of the animal rights organization.

The incident is just another element of the discussion revolving around the future of the zoo. Have a listen to the Catalan News 'Filling the Sink' podcast published on November 20 to know more about the discussion.


  • Image of Barcelona Zoo, in November 2021 (by Gerard Escaich)

  • Image of Barcelona Zoo, in November 2021 (by Gerard Escaich)