This week a contract between the construction company and Tallinn City was finally signed. This is an important milestone on the long road to improving the keeping conditions for European mink and to reach to acceptable working conditions for keepers and researchers. The contract starts the construction of a new building for Tallinn Zoo and Lutreola Foundation species conservation research lab (SCRL).
So far our conservation work and research has been mostly conducted in old temporary construction shelters. If the construction goes according to plan, then by the end of 2013 our lab should have decent rooms for food preparation, veterinary procedures, quarantine, keepers, three research labs, two cabinets and a meeting room. For the minks we will build a new prototype module of enclosures, which accommodates 20 minks.
One might wonder why only one module for mink and an entire building for humans. This is for two simple reasons:
- Animals come first, sure. Our first priority has always been and will always be the mink, but one cannot take care of animals without thinking about the working conditions for the people involved.
- We are not fully satisfied with concept of the enclosure modules we have been using until now. So, we redesigned the concept. Now the new solutions need to be tested in reality. That is one of reasons for only one module this time. But we have plans to build three more in the future.
Where does the financing for this construction come from? 90% from European Structural Funds and 10% from Tallinn City. For more information look here (in Estonian).