As the Ebola epidemic continues to sweep across West Africa, fear is so great that people have begun to abandon their pet big cats and monkeys out of panic, leading local zoos to take in these animals to prevent potential spread of the deadly virus.
The AFP visited one Ivory Coast zoo where vets have created a quarantine zone, with cages of animals in isolation to prevent exposure to the virus. Though none of the animals appears infected with Ebola, the zoo is keeping them isolated out of precaution because they don't know all the animals' history.
Researchers have suggested that fruit bats could be to blame for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, passing on the disease to forest antelopes and primates, whose meat is eaten in many African countries. The WHO has warned that people "should reduce contact with high-risk infected animals (i.e. fruit bats, monkeys or apes) in the affected areas."
There have not been any confirmed cases of Ebola in the Ivory Coast, but the disease has killed almost 1,800 people in neighbouring Liberia and Guinea alone and a total 2,600 in the four countries where the disease has hit, including Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
Read the AFP's profile of the zoo in Abidjan here.
An unaffected monkey — Photo: Mohammed Talatene/APA Images/ZUMA
A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.
A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."
The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.
Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."
Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021
Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021
Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?
The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.
The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.
The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."
The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."
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