The opening of Tirana Zoo has been postponed for the eighth time after it was initially slated to open its doors on 1 June, Children’s Day.
Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj has included the zoo in his plans since 2015 and has given a total of eight deadlines for its opening.
On 1 June, Veliaj said that the opening of the zoo was postponed to Saturday, 4 June to make time for parents who were at work on Wednesday when Albania celebrated Children’s Day.
“Today is June 1, the children’s holiday, but only children have a break, because adults are at work. This means that for all adults, including children of any age, from 1 to 100 years old, we will open it on Saturday,” the mayor said during an inspection.
The zoo was promised in 2019, August 2020, the start of summer 2021, 1 June 2021, the end of 2021, March 2022, and 1 June 2022. The latest extension, albeit by four days, makes it the eighth in total.
Veliaj claimed the zoo is “probably the most modern zoo in the Balkans” and benefits from “reconceptualised spaces” and “more space for animals”. He stressed that the new layout provides “much more humane treatment than those scenes we remember from the zoo we inherited.”
The Municipality said the space used for animals will increase from 1450 sqm to 3026 sqm, providing a much better environment for them.
Other buildings constructed include those used for veterinary, administrative, and education services. A new complex has also been built with restaurants and coffee shops. An underground car park for 100 cars is also a part of the project.
The mayor claimed the second phase of the project will connect the zoo with the Botanical Garden and he called on the Faculty of Science at the University of Tirana not to interfere in decision-making.
The Faculty and the Municipality have been involved in a legal wrangle over ownership of the Botanical Gardens which the former won almost a year ago.