The operating licence of the Hellenic Wildlife Hospital (EKPAZ) on the island of Aegina was suspended on Wednesday, following the publication of a decision by Alternate Environment and Energy Minister Sokratis Famellos in the government gazette.
The decision was made after two inspections, the latest of which was carried out in August, revealed serious shortcomings in the way the hospital was run. The environment ministry, acting in cooperation with the rural development ministry and forestry services in Piraeus and Aegina, carried out the inspections after receiving a number of complaints about the hospital.
According to their findings, EKPAZ was effectively unable to provide treatment or carry out medical actions on the animals, nor arrange for their re-release to the environment or even pay for the water and power supply to the facility.
It has also failed to abide by the terms of a 2000 decision outlining the criteria and procedures for the licencing and supervision of wildlife treatment centres or observe health and sanitation rules, while an agreement for the loan of the building with the Attica Region has expired and was not renewed.
The minister’s order also states that all the animals at the hospital must be transferred to other shelters or released to the environment within six months.
After the closure of the EKPAZ, those seeking treatment for wild animals must contact either the Aegean Wildlife Hospital on Paros or Arcturos and the first-aid stations that work with them.
Originally set up in 1984 in Thessaloniki, EKPAZ became a non-profit organisation based in Aegina in 1990 and had operated continually since that time. It was the largest wildlife hospital in the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean and one of the few worldwide that provided treatment to all types of wildlife.