managed by S. Popovic (Communication)
This is a story of one boy’s childhood dream that became true. It all started in 1970. when I found the first pair of parrots. Over the next 20 years I was getting, exchanging, collecting parrots, ducks, rabits… By meeting breeders and friends who had the same hobi as mine, we came up with the idea to open a small zoo. So the first step was to go to the Town Hall and find out what is it that I need in order to open the zoo. After a long period of time I got the required document, but somehow not the one I needed for the zoo, but one for the trade of non-dietary products. I wasn’t satisfied, but at the time I didn’t know how to solve that problem.
Two years later I met my colleague Milan Miric from Kolut who had a registered zoo, and that was exactly what I wanted. I decided to copy his documents and started the process of convincing people at the Town Hall to help me open the first zoo in Srem. After some time, I finally succeeded..
I got the document to open the zoo in 76 Jovana Popovica Street which was my family house with a big yard. I made pools, cages, but it was quickly missing out of space. There were 2 monkeys, a couple of ponies, goats, etc. In spring 1995. I realised that this is not what I really wanted: the space wasn’t big enough for all the animals I wanted to have.
I started searching for the new location that would be big enough, with trees, grass and water. Soon I found the spot that I liked – on the right-hand side off the road to Novi Sad. This location seemed to fulfill all the required conditions, however it didn’t have electricity and it was 2,5 km away from the town center.
After talking to my friend Slobodan Nikolic, I was suggested the location across the town’s swimming pool, which was at the time, a wild dump. This location seemed to be perfect, but there were no trees nor grass, and it was extremely dirty. However, it was not too close to the town center, but still close enough for all the visitors to come with their children and spend lovely time.
After a couple of months I was called to the meeting in the Town Hall. Many local organisations supported me in the process of getting all the necessary documents. Mr Vuk Bojovic, the director of the Belagrade zoo attended the meeting as well, and I was promised to get the land in a couple of days. Finally, after a certain period of time that really happened and I felt like the happiest kid in the world – my dream became reality. I started making something I relly wanted, in spite all the problems and difficulties I encountered on the way. days and months went by and the zoo was growing like a newborn baby.
The citizens were very supportative and they helped any way they could. Public organisations also helped whenever I needed them. For example, every summer and autumn they would provide me with new plants and seeds, help plant and water flowers and grass, and in winter they would help clean the snow.
After two years we started putting the fence around the entire location. In addition, we started making dam and small bridges on the canal.
In spring 1998. I brought the first inhabitants of the new zoo: swans (black and white), ducks, geese, etc. In 1999. a new parking lot was built at the entrance. Furthermore, we made apublic toilet with drinking water and one room for storing tools, as well as a food storage room. In addition, we made a lovely fountain with gold fish and water lilies. In 2000. we put up a new billiards for children. Friends of the zoo gathered and decided to make a cage for the monkeys on the island and another cage for a puma called Artur. In 2001. we oragnised the first art colony for 36 artists from serbia and it lasted for 10 days. also, we started building a house (160m2), which would be used for living, as well as for business. In spring next year we continued building it. It consists of several rooms for living and a classroom for children (50m2), as well as rooms for storing food. In 2002. the house was almost finished and the local motocyclists gathered here for the first time.
All these things we did and made in the zoo are done with lots of love and hard work. We wanted to make something for the children, to come here, learn new things and become good people one day.
However, in 2002. people from the Town Hall forbade any further building because we had no legal rights to do that. Even though, we applied for the legalisation of the building, different documents were sent saying the the building would be knocked down.
In the meantime, during all these years people who love this park were fighting against all the oppression, writing petitions, organising different gatherings. Young people from Europe were our guests, children from the Red Cross organise some social events, dog breeders organise dog shows. People simply couldn’t believe that someone wanted to ruin all this, that this oasis could dissapear.
In 2008. in August I signed a protocol with the mayor of Indjija, in which it was said that the status of the zoo would be solved by the end of the year. In addition, he promised a new location, enough water in the canal, that the zoo would look better and tidier. Unfortunately, one part of the zoo is knocked down, , shortened for one-third, where a new sports hall has been built and it has not been finished yet. Obviously, I didn’t get what I was promised, even though I am still writing appeals and trying to find the solution.
I must say that I am not going to give up on my dream and forget those who have the same dream as mine. In spite all the difficulties I am going to fight, not because of me, but because of those who love this oasis where they can find peace and tranquility.
I would like to thank all the people who stand by me and share my dream.