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Basel is really by the sea?

For an aperitif there are salt fischli. Olivier Pagan, for nearly two decades, the Director of the Basel zoo (sorry: the "zoo"), striking eyebrows, tall and s

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Basel is really by the sea?

For an aperitif there are salt fischli. Olivier Pagan, for nearly two decades, the Director of the Basel zoo (sorry: the "zoo"), striking eyebrows, tall and slender, heart attacks in prison in the Apéroschale. But to the food he is not coming. "Mr. Pagan, can you explain to me again how this works with the a lot of water?"

he Can. The Director leads since months of such conversations, he is actually leading to just such conversations. He has lobbied in front of 200 visitors, an info event in the zoo with the warmest words for his project, properly welded, he warms to the Benefits for the environment, for education, for the city!

And Best of all, It is a gift. The fabulous sum of CHF 100 million cost of the proposed "Oceanarium" (a little less than the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern), the largest Aquarium in the Switzerland, it should be, thousands of fish and marine species, 40 basin, up to 700'000 visitors per year, in addition to a Million, which comes every year in the zoo, financed with private funds. "Basel is located by the sea," was the title of the Pagans of the first film, illustrated with the view of the Cathedral and a sea the size of enlarged Rhine.

zoo Director Olivier Pagan hopes to the population. Photo: Lucian Hunziker

For ten years, the zoo plans of the Oceanarium, the government and the Parliament supported it, and it now comes on a single day: On 19. May decide the population about the Ozeanium. Then Pagan know if all the work was for nothing and he earmarked the donations are already over 50 million back.

Nervous of the customs idirektor acts this evening. It is critical questions during the event, instead of a lot of backslapping at the reception, highly stretched thumb at the time of adoption. The zoo, the shows way of his writing, has a special place in the city. "This identification there is in the whole of Europe, nowhere else", says Director of Pagan who presides at the Moment of the Association of the Zoological gardens in the German-speaking area and therefore knows what he is talking about.

"Our zoo"

On the big identification familiar to the zoo in the vote campaign. "Our zoo, our Ozeanium", it says on the posters, the posters in the whole city, and on which well-known inhabitants make their commitment to the zoo. "Our Basel," is it about simply on the poster -minu, city, original, gossip columnist. A testimony of that mentality that the own city and its institutions (culture! Fasnacht! FCB!) always something more important than the rest of the world.

And yet. In spite of all the identification, it is today difficult to predict how the vote in may will go out. There is in Basel a story of the prevented large-scale projects, and the Heuwaage, where the Ozeanium out to be an urban non-place between the Zoo and the city centre, is part of this story. In 2003, the Heuwaage site should be upgraded with one of the architects Herzog & de Meuron-designed Multiplex cinema, the project was rejected by almost 70 percent no-votes. Too big, too bulky, and unnecessary.

"the Ozeanium a block on the Heuwaage are bringing the. A lot of people don't want to." The woman says, sitting in a meeting room in the matte district of Bern, and is responsible for ensuring that the baslers will ever vote on the Ozeanium. Vera Weber is the Executive Director of the animal welfare and conservation organization, the Fondation Franz Weber in Bern and the driving force behind the Referendum. You feel very connected with the city, says Weber, even if you've never lived in it. Your recently verstobener father to the city of Basel, you yourself has the right of citizenship.

animal rights activist, Vera Weber is fighting against the Ozeanium. Photo: Franziska Scheidegger

The urban planning aspects of play in their battle, however, is only a subordinate role. It's about the animals. "The construction of such an aquarium in a landlocked country like Switzerland no sense." The need to protect the animals where they are. In The Sea. And certainly not in an Aquarium in Basel, Switzerland. "It is an insult to the intelligence of the people, if you believe that you have to lock animals behind glass, so people can learn how to protect them." Around the world, very few people had the privilege to see a blue whale in real. "And yet, we all know that the blue whale is a protected animal."

animals get from their habitat, and to risk their death in transit (Vera Weber is quoted in the vote fight, each a study in which up to 80 percent of dead animals per Transport), and then here, to imprison, to satisfy the curiosity of the people – and nothing else. "It is also meant to be short term: What to do with the construction, if in a few years, the Import of marine animals is prohibited? As the Import of whales and dolphins today!"

animal ethicist, Markus Wild, the concept criticizes the Zoo. Photo: Nicole Pont

Vera Weber, of the Green party in Basel, and various environmental and animal protection organisations is Supported. Until now, the no camp doesn't have nearly the same visibility as the supporters. "It is not very easy, in Basel publicly against the Zoo Express," says philosophy Professor and animal ethicist Markus Wild from the University of Basel. The Professor brought his dog Titus to the conversation and is wearing a T-Shirt with Lobster print. "It is therefore understandable that the resistance comes first, from the outside." By Vera Weber from Bern, of him who is originally from Appenzell Innerrhoden. The trust in the Institution of the zoo in the city is so big that the campaign is over, exclusively on the identification with the Zoo and not about arguments, says Wild. "We hardly speak about it, whether as a Ozeanium is really good for nature and the animals."

"A false image of nature"

The philosophy Professor has a research study on fish pain and is, in contrast to the other Critics of the Ozeaniums, a fundamental opponent of the concept of the Zoo. "On the visibility of the animals facing Zoos give us a false picture of nature." The Ozeanium am particularly cross on the landscape. So many resources were invested in raising the awareness for a Problem instead of the solution of this problem. So much wasted energy, so much wasted money!

Olivier Pagan, the Director of the zoo, knows these arguments. "This is an Anti-zoo campaign," he says. "The meaning and purpose of a scientific Zoological garden is to inspire people for the living animal. You experience to of the animals ' behavior and to sensitize them for their protection." The Oceanarium is a place for education, a place for rest, a sustainably planned, ecologically meaningful, the animal well-adapted to the project. "I would be very sad if the population would indicate that the zoo is developing in the wrong direction." He will do everything to ensure that it would get this far. And would again explain how it works with the a lot of water.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 15.04.2019, 19:25 PM

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