Zoo closed after mystery deaths

Sofia - The zoo in Bulgaria's capital Sofia has been temporarily shut to visitors after several animals died for unknown reasons over the weekend, City Mayor Yordanka Fandakova said Tuesday.

Three Indian bisons, two yaks and a camel have died since Friday, with authorities still unable to say why.

A Sofia zoo worker feeds a female elephant. AFP FILE PHOTO / Dimitar DILKOFF. Credit: AFP

“We ordered checks of the food they were given, the water they drank, the space they lived in,” Fandakova said.

“What worries me most is the condition of some animals which are still unwell... The most important thing is to save the sick animals so that there is no danger for people,” she said, without saying how many animals are ill.

The zoo will only reopen when it is definitely safe, she added.

Bulgaria reported an outbreak of blue tongue disease recently, but veterinarians said the dead zoo animals did not display symptoms of the viral sickness, which affects sheep and cattle.

Sofia's zoo is the largest and oldest on the Balkan peninsula.