November, 2015 – Animals in Pyongyang Central Zoo suffocated when the air-condition system broke down for several hours, according to South Korean media. Exotic animals, such as Persian leopards that were a gift from Russia, reside at the zoo.
The air-conditioning facilities most likely broke down due to frequent power outages which are a completely normal occurrence in North Korea. This lead to the suffocation of some of the animals at the zoo, but obviously poor management is to be blamed as well.
Among many other North Korean institutions, the Pyongyang Central Zoo was given special instructions from the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, ahead of the anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers’ Party.
A source that wanted to remain anonymous told South Korean press that the ventilation system had been designed by North Korean engineers and was not appropriate for animal husbandry, but new facilities could not be completed on time. Animals suffocated when the ventilation system stopped running for hours, according to the source.
Some Aquatic animals which were planned to perform on October 10, for the Workers’ Party 70th anniversary, have died in this tragedy.
The faith of many rare and exotic animals, such as striped hyenas, leopards, long-tailed parakeets and African lions (all gifts from Russia) remains unknown.
Construction plans have been delayed. The authorities agreed to finish the new zoo construction in late April, 2016. This delay is partly caused by the problems in the design of the air-conditioning facilities which led to the suffocation of animals.
The Pyongyang Central Zoo was build under the watchful eye of Kim II Sung in 1959. It holds around 5,000 animals (650 different species).