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Lee Durrell, widow of Gerald Durrell

I first met Vladimir Spitsin with my late husband, Gerald Durrell. It was in 1984, and we were making a television series about the natural history and amazing biodiversity of the USSR. Some of the 'stars' of the show were the animals at Moscow Zoo, which Vlad generously allowed us to film. I remember thinking that he was so much like Gerry – a big bear of a man, larger than life and passionately dedicated to his zoo. He took us around the zoo to meet, up close, walruses, young snow leopards, a baby eagle and a very intelligent octopus! We talked to the keepers about their wonderful animals, and it was clear that the zoo staff were not only devoted to their animals, but also to their leader. The zoo world has lost a legendary figure with the passing of Vladimir Spitsin, but his legacy will live on in those who worked alongside him to protect the Animal Kingdom.

Nate Flesness, Director Emeritus (Species 360, then called ISIS)

Vladimir was a leader in many ways, but especially in cooperation.

He brought Moscow Zoo into the small but then-growing world network of zoos sharing animal data in the 1980's, far ahead of many others. His initiative signaled to others that it was OK to join. This network, now called Species 360, over 1200 zoos in ~100 countries are members today, thanks to early leaders like Vladimir.

He was also a genial companion at many a world zoo association meeting, always with a smile and a greeting.

He will be sorely missed.

Dr. Alex Rübel, Director Zurich Zoo emeritus, WAZA President 2001-2003

As a very young veterinarian, I met Vladimir for the first time in 1982 in Veszprem, Hungary, on the occasion of the 24th International Symposium on the Diseases of Zoo Animals, organized annually once in the East and once in the West by Professor Rudolf Ippen, than Director of the Institute for Vertebrate Research in East Berlin, GDR. I was impressed by Vladimir, even though I could talk to him only through the zoo director of Augsburg, Michael Gorgas, who acted as translator. Vladimir was not only the director of the Moscow Zoo, he was also the link between the zoos in the West and in the East. His connections went not only to Berlin, but also to the leading zoo in the West at that time, San Diego, where the chief curator Jim Dolan was always on the lookout for rare animals. Thanks to Vladimir, Zurich Zoo also received a polar bear from Moscow.

We always met at these symposia, and later at EAZA conferences. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, Moscow Zoo joined EAZA and later WAZA and we met at the EAZA Council Meetings. In 1998 the Council Meeting was held in Moscow. Vladimir showed us not only the zoo, where I was particularly impressed by the successful breeding of the manul, the walruses in the newly built facility and the kiangs. Vladimir showed us the rapidly developing zoo, he took us to the Kremlin, to Lenin's mausoleum and to the best restaurants in the city.

It wasn't until 2018 that I had another opportunity to come to Moscow for the zoo's 125th anniversary. I asked in advance if there was a possibility to visit the breeding station for rare species of animals near Volokolamsk, which I had not seen until then. Vladimir did not miss the opportunity to pick me up and to drive personally at a very high speed to the breeding station and to show me all his animals and programs on the large area. Together with many other zoo directors we enjoyed the beautiful anniversary event.

In the meantime, we no longer needed a translator to talk about the zoo and the animals, but could talk directly about our profession and, in the friendship that had grown over many years, also about very personal things. With Vladimir we not only lose an outstanding zoologist and zoo director, we also lose a true friend. I will always remember him fondly.

Mgr. Bc. Martin Krug, Ředitel/director, Rhino TAG member, Zoo Hodonín p.o.

Sad news has reached us for the umpteenth time in these difficult times. The great people of our ranks are leaving. At this sad moment, of course, we need to say a big THANK YOU for being able to walk part of our lives together next to such brilliant personalities. Those moments were hugely motivated and warmed by the mere presence of it. I am grateful to have been able to listen to and hear odes to the joys of life for the great but at the same time beautifully human and humble little people who are already immortal. I trust that we have learned the proper lessons from your advice and experience, and will carry yours and our ideas for a better nature and the world in general, on and pass them on just as proudly to the next generation, and with your legacy. Rest in peace.

Sandra Honigs, Aquazoo Löbbecke Museum Düsseldorf

Dear Vladimir,

Today I was very saddened to learn of your untimely death. I look back fondly on wonderful days at Moscow Zoo with incredibly friendly hosts, fantastic animals in a remarkable environment. I was lucky enough to visit the zoo for the Small Mammal TAG meeting years ago. What a pleasure and what a host Vladimir was! With him, the zoo world loses an enthusiastic animal lover. I will miss him, he was a true original!

I hope that where you are now, you look down with benevolence on what your successors will now take over.

I wish your family, friends and colleagues much strength to go through the world without you, your commitment, your knowledge and your love.

The zoo world will never forget you.

Rest in Peace Vladimir.

Dr. med. vet. Andreas Knieriem, Director and CEO, Christian Kern, Zoological Director, Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde GMBH

Dear Ms. Akulova,

We are saddened to learn about the passing of Mr. Vladimir Spitsin and we would like to express our sincerest condolences.

Vladimir Spitsin was a highly valued colleague and reliable guarantor of the longterm, friendly and successful relationship between the Moscow Zoo and Tierpark Berlin.

We extend our heartfelt and deep sympathy to his family and the colleagues of Moscow Zoo. His passing is also a great loss for the international zoo community.

Yutaka Fukuda, Ph. D.,DVM, Chair of JAZA, Director of Ueno Zoological Gardens

Dear Ms. Svetlana Akulova, CEO of Moscow Zoo

I am very surprised by the sudden news that Mr.Vladimir Spitzin has passed away. I still cannot believe it as I can still see his face smiling to me, who was a very active and healthy President. The Eurasian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EARAZA) and the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a friendly relationship in Moscow on 5 June 2019. I am sincerely grateful to President Spitzin for his willingness to accept the offer from Japan and for his decision to sign the agreement. The days we spent together are still dear to my heart. I am looking forward to working with you to shape the future of our two associations. It is with great sadness that I will not be able to meet President Mr.Spitzin again. I wish him all the best.

Tim Brown, Chairman and Founder, Independent Zoo Enthusiasts Society

Very sadly I knew of Vladimir`s passing. I was able to tell zoo colleagues here in the UK some of the stories of the wonderful times I had as a guest of the Moscow Zoo and Vladimir`s part in it all. He suggested one time that I should go with him to the zoo of Grandfather Frost that you created, and it is my bitter regret that we never made that journey together.

I thank you for the brief appraisal of Vladimir Spitsin`s life and we will of course include an obituary in the Spring edition of Zoo Grapevine and International Zoo News.

Please accept my sincere condolences. The tributes will be many.

Dr. Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck, CEO of the Tiergarten Schönbrunn in Vienna, Austria

When the sad message reached me, that Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin passed away on Friday, 22nd 2021, I was completely shocked and very sorrowful!

We have not only lost a very knowledgeable, experienced zoologist and zoo director, as well as an always open minded colleague, but first of all a great, humorous, trustworthy and reliable friend!

Personally I am very grateful to have known Vladimir Spitsin! We have had a lot of joint experiences, whether in Hamburg, in Moscow or in numerous, other beautiful places!

To me personally he was nearly like a mentor and I will always be grateful for the numerous and continuous support I received through him!

The international Zoo world will miss Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin, but he is leaving plenty of personal and professional achievements and great memories behind, which will ensure, that we will never forget him!

In these terrible days I am in thoughts with his family and relatives, Mrs. Svetlana Akulova, the director general of Moscow Zoo and the entire staff of Moscow Zoo and wishing them a lot of strength.

In deep mourning over the loss of a good friend.

Prof. Theo B. Pagel, WAZA President / Director of Cologne Zoo, Germany

Dear Director Svetlana Akulova,

On behalf of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) Executive Office and Council, we would like to extend our deepest condolences on the passing of Mr. Vladimir Spitsin, esteemed President of Moscow Zoo and Chairman of the Eurasian Regional Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EARAZA).

He was known as a remarkable and kind leader. His legacy will long live on through the work he did on revitalising the Moscow Zoo, strengthening the role of EARAZA within a regional and global perspective, and inspiring new generations of young professionals. His lifelong dedication to animals, conservation and the zoo community is truly valued.

On a global scale, he collaborated internationally through his participation at WAZA and as a member of the WAZA Associations Committee in recent years. We are truly thankful for the role he played within WAZA. For many years he was the only contact to Russia, and we cannot appreciate enough what he did to keep the global cooperation going on.

We share your loss and have no doubt that he will be remembered with great respect and admiration by our global community of zoos and aquariums. He will be fondly remembered by so many who were lucky enough to meet him or learn from him.

Personally, I knew him for my whole zoo life – he was already a legend when I started my career. Luckily, I was able to meet with him several times, even in Moscow over the years. We have lost an expert in zoo biology, conservation and a not only a good colleague but a friend. We all, WAZA, and I, will miss him.

But with you and your team we are more than optimistic that the excellent work of Moscow Zoo and EARAZA will go on.

Mr. Wolfgang Kiessling (President) and the entire team of Loro Parque

We are very saddened to learn that Dr. Vladimir V. Spitsin has passed away on January 22 and wish to express our deeply felt sympathy and condolence to his family.

Dr. Spitsin played a vital role for Moscow Zoo but also for the zoo world in general.

He dedicated his life to promote Moscow zoo, its conservation and research work. He not only raised Moscow Zoo to high standards and international recognition but also, thanks to his initiative the Euro-Asian Regional Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EARAZA) was created. Nowadays an indispensable Association for the world of zoos and aquariums.

I had the great pleasure to make his acquaintance in 2012 when I traveled to Moscow Zoo to inaugurate together with Dr. Spitsin the Expo Orca exhibition which he permitted to be displayed in Moscow Zoo. As a result of this visit a great friendship was born and although we didn't speak the same language, we spoke the same language when it came to the animals and the world of zoos.

With Dr. Spitsin we are losing one of the great pioneers of the Euro-Asian Zoo world but his legend will live on and he will never be forgotten.

Steve H. Taylor, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Director Emeritus

I met Vladimir Spitsin at WAZA meetings. While I didn’t speak Russian and his English was limited, I always enjoyed being in his company and I certainly admired his many accomplishments at the Moscow Zoo. My favorite memory of him was walking through the Hannover Zoo in October 2010 with him, his interpreter, Tanya, and Michael Machens, Director of the Zoo. Like any of us that love zoos, he was very excited about seeing all the wonderful new exhibits at this Zoo. RIP Vladimir.

Receive my deep condolences about death of your former director Mr Spitsin.

Nadja Radovic, Nature Resource Network s.r.o.

He was a great man. I did not have chance to meet him but I had a lot of chance to hear so great things about him. He was a good friend with my uncle ( former director of Belgrade zoo – Vuk Bojovic) and I share your grief and sadness. You lost great teacher and man.

Stay safe and healthy

Kumar Pillai, Vice President, Special Projects & Development, Wildlife Reserves Singapore

We are sad to hear of the passing of our dear friend and beloved colleague Mr. Spitsin. Our deepest condolences to his family and all at Moscow Zoo.

He was a good friend of Singapore Zoo and we had a very good relationship with Moscow zoo then.
May his soul rest in peace.

Ivan and Katarina Rehak, Prague, Czech Republic

We received shocking news about the death of Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin. We express our deepest condolences to his family, his colleagues at the Moscow Zoo and all his friends!

We knew Vladimir Vladimirovich for many years, and we had many opportunities to assess how extraordinary and exceptional he was.

We have always highly appreciated his sincere character, education, great life experience, sense of humor, as well as his extremely kind and friendly approach.

We will miss him immensely! He is gone forever, but he will remain in our memories! Honor his memory!

With sincere condolences.

Dmitry E. Batmanov, Deputy Director of municipal state institution «Organizational and information service of the city of Yaroslavl»

«On behalf of the Mayor's Office of the city of Yaroslavl and myself, I express deep condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and the entire staff of Moscow Zoo on the passing of the President of Moscow Zoo, Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin.

We grieved on the news of this outstanding person passing away, who stood at the origins of the Euro-Asian Regional Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which also includes the Yaroslavl Zoo, the first landscape-type zoo in Russia and the CIS.

It is thanks to Vladimir Vladimirovich that we owe the opening in 2006 of the Yaroslavl Zoo and its development. Thanks to his support, zoological, veterinary, and engineering services appeared, the collection of animals was preserved and replenished. As a leader and colleague, he always extended a helping hand, supported not only in word, but also in deed.

Honoring his memory!

The team of the Dushanbe Zoo «Gods of Khayvonot»

The Dushanbe zoo «Gods of Khayvonot» expresses its sincere condolences on the loss of a GREAT person, scientist, leader.

The business he started will hopefully be continued and expanded.

We grieve and remember him dearly.

Dmitry Limansky

I did not have a chance to know him peronally, but saw the result of his work. I didn't have time to say thank you during his lifetime. I’m saying it now and hope that this respected man will hear me, wherever he is right now. Bow to the ground to all of you for this difficult work – to preserve the beauty of this world. This world would be poorer without your work.

Viktor Volonchunas, Deputy Chairman of the Yaroslavl Regional Duma

On behalf of the deputies of the Yaroslavl Regional Duma and the entire cultural community of the region, we express our sincere condolences regarding the death of the President of Moscow Zoo, Honored Worker of Culture of RSFSR, Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin. Yaroslavl residents highly appreciate his personal contribution to the design and construction of the Yaroslavl Zoo. He tried to help as much as possible to implement the idea of creating the best zoo in the country in our regional center.

In particular, thanks to his support, zoological, veterinary, engineering services were developed in the Yaroslavl Zoo, the collection of animals was preserved and replenished.

Vladimir Vladimirovich was a true professional in his field, mentor and devotee.

The bright memory of him will forever remain in the hearts of Yaroslavl residents.

Natasha Pavlushina, animal painter, Novosibirsk

Goodbye, Vladimir Vladimirovich!

I am so sorry that we have seen each other so rarely lately. And not very often before...

Thank you so much for your constant help, support and approval for all my crazy projects. I am so glad that I was able to bring my and the kid's exhibitions of paintings and drawings to you. And I am very sorry that I will never have the opportunity to show you the result of the latest projects discussed during my visit two years ago – the Big Book «Zoos of Russia». Stronger than ever, I want to see this book published and it is very painful for me to realize that your name will now also be in a memorable note in golden letters on the first page, along with people dear to my heart, but have already left us, who had a tremendous influence on my life and destiny...

Gerald Darrell, Rostislav Alexandrovich, Vladimir Vladimirovich, thank you for being in my life! Bright and eternal memory to wonderful people who have dedicated themselves to serving the great cause of protecting and preserving the wild nature of our beautiful planet Earth...

With deep respect and endless love.

Voronezh Zoo team

Director of the Voronezh Zoo Andrey Georgievich Shestopalov shared his memories and expressed his condolences: «To our great regret, a great Man, a true Friend of Voronezh Zoo, Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin, passed away. Arriving once at Voronezh pet zoo, he said: «I see the light in the eyes of the management and the team, you will succeed». He instilled faith, always supported and sincerely rejoiced in our successes. Blessed memory of dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!».

It’s the end of an era, a legendary man, who made an invaluable contribution to the development of zoos in Russia and the world, has gone. The staff of our zoo expresses sincere condolences to the family and friends of Vladimir Spitsin. We grieve!

Elena Fedorova

Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich! Thank you for the years that we have worked under your leadership in 1994-2012, building and implementing your idea – the Center for the reproduction of rare animals species.Our souls and hearts remained there, in the place where you and I rejoiced at every victory, and grieved at failures. I am grateful to fate, we’ve made an amazing place, and we are inscribed in the history of Moscow Zoo! God rest your soul. R.I.P

Former director of the Baku Zoo Alina Hajibeyli and the whole family

Dear colleagues and friends!

A fond memory of an associate and a friend. We have worked together with Vladimir Vladimirovich for many years. These were unforgettable years. When my family was in a difficult situation in 1990, Vladimir Vladimirovich immediately came to the rescue. One can never forget such moments and there are not so many people of this kind in this world. Rest in peace, dear friend.

Anna Iosifovna Klyukina, Director of the State Darwin Museum

When you think of Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin – you immediately remember his smile, sparkling eyes with a slight squint. It was impossible not to love him. However, it turned out that there are people who brought him a lot of suffering, which he did not show to anyone.

The museum stands a little bit aside from the zoo, so I recognized Vladimir Vladimirovich from the late 70s, when he became the director of the zoo. And we have become friends since the late 80s, when I became the director of the Darwin Museum.

We had common problems: he was very actively rebuilding the zoo, and I was trying to complete the building of the museum, and since these issues were resolved in the same departments, we often met in the corridors of the Committee of Culture (now the Department), the Ministries of Culture of the USSR and RSFSR, City Hall. At that time, the difference between us was fundamental. He was the director of a well-known working zoo, and I was the director of a museum that was closed, as it seemed then forever.

Vladimir Vladimirovich was the smartest and kindest person, he clearly understood this and at every meeting he tried to somehow cheer me up. Actually, he didn't have to do anything, it was enough for me just to see this handsome man walking towards me, with a smile on his face, stretching out his arms for a hug – and immediately I felt that my chin went up and there was confidence in my soul that everything would be just fine. Always elegant, often with a long red scarf, casually thrown over a light raincoat, swiftly walking down the corridor, it seemed that he would now sweep away everyone who prevents him from building the zoo.

Each meeting with him instilled confidence that everything will work out for me. I will never forget how he simply saved Darwin Museum from disaster by giving wise advice, which I still use today. In the museum, both refrigerating machines were out of order; the central air conditioner could not work. It was spring, summer was ahead, the concrete building into which the museum had moved by that time could easily turn into a gas chamber for both people and exhibits. Of course, I rushed to the Committee of Culture with a request to buy a new chiller, and I ardently argued to my boss (he has long been gone from the Department) that without it the museum would suffocate.

My» boss heard me out and answered – who cares? So I collected money myself and agreed on the supply of a Finnish chiller, but I had to get consent from the Committee of Culture first. Time passed, but there was no answer to my letter. I was standing on the stairs of the Committee building, I probably did not look very cheerful, and luckily I saw Vladimir Vladimirovich coming up. He was clearly in a hurry, but when he saw me, he asked what had happened. He heard me out and asked when did I sent the letter, I answered. «So more than a month ago?» he replied- «Now remember this: if there is no response to your letter within a month, it means that the management agrees and supports you completely.» I kissed him and on the same day signed a contract for the supply of a new chiller, the museum was saved, and the chiller is still working.

From time to time we met, at some common events, we ate, drank, joked, told stories from life. Everything was fine and suddenly (for all of us it was suddenly) a new director comes to the zoo. Yes, Vladimir Vladimirovich was left in the zoo as the President, and he must have «kept his face» in front of the staff, but we, his friends, saw the light in his eyes go out. I never heard him complain, but we could see everything, and we tried our best to cheer him up.

Vladimir Vladimirovich actually created a new Moscow Zoo, and therefore it was especially offensive for him that at the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the zoo, at the opening of the anniversary exhibition, he was not even given the floor. We supported him as best as we could, but it was clear how bad he was.
But then I saw Vladimir Vladimirovich I always knew – self-confident as he used to be, with cheerful eyes,- it was when Svetlana Vladimirovna Akulova arranged a wonderful celebration of his anniversary. I heard how many of his friends approached Svetlana Vladimirovna and thanked her for the celebration that she arranged for Vladimir Vladimirovich.

And then there was the 155th anniversary of the zoo, and again Svetlana arranged a wonderful celebration that lasted a week, directors from many European and former Soviet museums came. There were many guests at the final banquet, Vladimir Vladimirovich was happy to see how many friends had come from all over Russia, far and near abroad.

It hurts to think that we still didn’t see each other enough, and that I will never see his kind smile and sparkling eyes again. It seemed he would always be here with us. And he will be – always in our hearts.

Maria Lienko

A man, whom I deeply respected and was proud to know has passed away.

I will always remember and appreciate the experience I gained in working together. Vladimir Vladimirovich was a real professional in his field, a man with an enormous kind heart. The zoo is orphaned...

Kirill Trantin, Director of the Kiev Zoo

On behalf of the collective of the Kiev Zoo and myself personally, I express the most sincere and deep condolences on the death of the President of Moscow Zoo, President of EARAZA Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin. This unique specialist, a man with a great soul, invested all his time and energy in the development of the zoo business. He loved animals with all his heart and did everything possible for the prosperity of EARAZA. We always admired and were inspired by his optimism and dedication to the work he chose. Vladimir Vladimirovich won the love and respect of everyone who knew him.

We express our condolences to the family, loved ones, friends and colleagues of the deceased. We deeply mourn with you.

Kharkiv Zoo staff

The staff of the Kharkov Zoo brings sincere condolences to the family and relatives of Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin. A wonderful man is gone, the work of his whole life was the zoo. He was a man with a big soul, a great heart and a sincere smile, who knew how to withstand the blows of fate, amazed us with his optimism, ability to rejoice and learn new things. Love for animals and the zoo business – this was the basis of Vladimir Vladimirovich's life. RIP…

Maria Lavlinskaya

I have been connected with the zoo since childhood, back in Soviet Union, my grandfather was supposed to get an apartment with windows facing the zoo, but something didn't work out. And every time I visited the zoo, I thought and dreamed how I could look at animals from my window: bears maybe? Or a giraffe? But so what if my windows don’t face the zoo.

I walked through time around the zoo, watched how the enclosures and the zoo were changing, how new animals appeareв and the old residents were looking better every day. I grew up walking around the zoo: first I went there with my parents, then, as a student, I skipped lectures there, and now, if I have free time, I go to the zoo.

Our zoo instilled in me love and respect for animals, told a lot of interesting things.

When traveling, I always try to go to the zoo in new places I visit, but I have never seen such heartfelt zoo. And this is your merit, Vladimir Vladimirovich. Thank you for the warmth of this place. We will miss you.

Galina Rogova

Vladimir Vladimirovich... I can't want to believe. There are people, every meetings with whom are remembered forever. I was lucky enough to work since the end of 1989, right after school, and in the early 90s as the head of the chancellery and secretary of Vladimir Vladimirovich...

This is such a life changing experience – to work next to a personality of a unique scale, a fantastic professional. Big, loud – both those who were to blame for something and those who were just around were afraid of the angry intonations of his voice. But Vladimir Vladimirovich was... can’t believe I’m using this horrible word- was... he was very fair, responsible and selflessly related to the cause of his whole life, therefore he demanded the same from his employees...

Wise advice, fantastic sense of humor, contagious laughter... Vladimir Vladimirovich very carefully selected people for his team, because Moscow Zoo was more than just a home for him, it was his family. Every animal, every bird, every department of the zoo was important to him every minute, and Vladimir Vladimirovich always knew what was happening in every corner of our beloved zoo... Bright, eternal memory to you, dear and respected Vladimir Vladimirovich... Thank you for the «school of life», for the advice that still helps... We will always remember you... Always.

Alex Kantorovich, curator of the collection of animals at the Zoo «High Park», Kiryat Motzkin, Israel
Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!
I cannot believe that this is my last letter to you... Thank you for finding the strength to communicate with me three days ago. It has always been that way, no matter how you feel, human relations were above all to you!

I remember how we met 20 years ago. Our first meeting took place when I was not working at the zoo. You just put me in your car and took me to the Reproduction center. Since that day, we have met every single year, and lately almost every 3 months.

It was so common to start my stay at Moscow Zoo with meeting you, sitting in your office and chatting on various topics, meeting at conferences, having breakfast together, traveling together, flying together, etc. Our conversations have always gone far beyond the zoo world. You have always been and will remain an example of the most humane director for me. Your attitude towards people will forever be an example for me to follow! Thank you for always supporting my endeavors! We are mourning in Israel. The zoo staff, my parents and my wife are grieving!

But we will be coming, gathering in your office and remember you! Goodbye our dear teacher, colleague and a friend! Rest in peace!

Andrzej Krushevich, Director of Warsaw Zoo

We, employees of Warsaw Zoo, have received the news of the death of the President of Moscow Zoo, Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin, with deep sadness, and in this regard we express our sincere and deep condolences.

Erich Kochner, President of UCSZOO, Director of Kosice Zoo, Slovakia, Martin Hovorka, Vice President of UCSZOO, Director of Brno Zoo, Czech Republic, Union of Czech and Slovak Zoos

No words can express the sorrow that has settled in our hearts these days. The news of the sudden death of Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin, that quickly spread throughout the world of zoos on January 22 turned out to be the deepest sadness and for us, employees of Czech and Slovak zoological parks. This sad news was hard to believe, because it was about a person full of energy, affectionate and always ready to listen and lend a helping hand. A man who devoted his entire professional life to his beloved work, for whom the zoo has become home and for whom caring for animals has always been one of the most important tasks. And he devoted a huge part of his efforts to solving this problem. That is why in 1994 he, as a spiritual father, stood at the birth of the Euro-Asian Regional Association of Zoos and Aquariums. As the President of this association, he always defended the interests of all its members, regardless of their size and importance. He tirelessly defended and supported their activities and helped in solving problems.

Addressing all the employees of Moscow Zoo, we’re sending our deepest sympathy and support in their grief. Please convey our sincere condolences to the family of Vladimir Vladimirovich and his relatives. Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin was a deeply humane and exceptional person from a professional point of view, after whom there was left an indelible mark, a person about whom one can say: he passed into eternity with the consciousness that he did what he believed all his life.

Evgeny Y. Stupnikov, Director of the Information and Analytical Center for the Support of Wildlife Management

Dear Colleagues! Together with you we grieve for Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin. A professional and an ascetic, who did an invaluable lot for the development not only of Moscow Zoo and of the network of zoos in Europe and Asia, but also for the preservation of the planet's nature in general. Under his leadership, Moscow Zoo became one of the leading scientific, environmental and educational institutions of the country, whose specialists are constant participants in the implementation of initiatives for the conservation and restoration of rare species, including the activities of nurseries for breeding rare species of animals in specially protected natural areas of Russia.

For Vladimir Vladimirovich, there were no «other people's» problems, unimportant affairs or impossible undertakings. Many achievements and many established destinies are associated with his name. He knew how to unite professionals and simply make people care, reconciling sometimes even principled opponents – a rare gift of a talented leader. The union of young biologists of the zoo, the activities of which Vladimir Vladimirovich has always supported, has become a real school for the nature conservation movement, for professionals in nature conservation. Its graduates are now working in many protected natural areas and in scientific institutions of the post-Soviet space.

Vladimir Vladimirovich was a member of the Bureau of the Working Group on the Conservation and Reproduction of Certain Rare and Endangered Fauna Objects of the Russian Federation, created under the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia, whose activities are coordinated by the Roszapovedtsentr. From personal experience, we were able to appreciate the amazing ability of Vladimir Vladimirovich to be able to calmly and very reasonably convince colleagues when discussing the most difficult issues. At the same time, he always remained a self-possessed, intelligent, professional of the highest category.

The passing away of Vladimir Vladimirovich is a huge loss for all of us. We express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Vladimir Vladimirovich and the Moscow Zoo team.



Evgeny A.Bogatyrev, General Director of A.S. Pushkin Museum, and the staff of the museum

State Museum of A.S. Pushkin expresses its sincere condolences on Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin passing away, the president of Moscow Zoo, a wonderful professional, with whom we walked along the thorny, but bright and joyful museum road for many years.

Vladimir Vladimirovich was a specialist of the highest level, one of the best representatives of our profession in Russia. Brilliant talent, deep intelligence, sincerity, generosity won the respect of all who knew him. He made a significant contribution to the development of Moscow Zoo, the culture of Moscow and Russia.

Let's remember his deeds, his sincere feelings for us, while we are alive! We deeply grieve and we will forever remember the talent and glorious deeds of Vladimir Vladimirovich!

Svetlana G. Radionova, Head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources

On behalf of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources, please accept our deep condolences on the death of Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin, President of Moscow Zoo and the Euro-Asian Regional Association of Zoos and Aquariums, academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. The contribution of Vladimir Vladimirovich to the formation and development of Moscow Zoo, the preservation and enhancement of its biodiversity is invaluable. Thanks to his hard work and indifference, the populations of many rare species of animals and birds have been increased. The memory of a wonderful person, selflessly devoted to his work, Spitsin Vladimir Vladimirovich will forever remain in the hearts of friends, students and everyone who knew and appreciated him.

Secretary of the «World Ocean Museum» Tatiana Demyanchuk

Dear colleagues!

The World Ocean Museum is sending its sincere condolences on the death of the President of Moscow Zoo, Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin.

Cesare Avesani Zaborra, Executive Director and the entire team of Natura Viva

I express my deepest condolences over the loss of a great man, Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin. I had the honor to be a guest at the 150th anniversary of Moscow Zoo. There I was able to visit the amazing Center for the Reproduction of Rare Animal Species, which exists thanks to the idea and efforts of Vladimir Vladimirovich. It was an extraordinary and unforgettable experience, just like the hospitality we were greeted with. Thank you for everything you have done and for the value of your cultural contribution to our world.

Rolands Greizins, Chairman of the Board of Riga Zoo, Sergey Chichagov, Head of the Zoological Department of Riga Zoo, the staff of Riga Zoo

Dear Colleagues! We’re sending our sincere condolences to the colleagues, to all relatives and friends, about this terrible loss. For many years, Vladimir Vladimirovich has been our friend and a standard of a real «zoo man». We knew him as a person who combined the qualities of a brilliant professional and a charming conversationalist. He was a man who gave all his heart and soul to the zoo, and as we called him «the legendary keeper of Moscow Zoo».

For many years, our zoos have cooperated, and we were friends with Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin, he also made a great contribution to the life of our zoo, an example of which is the birth of the Asian elephant Zuse, who became the property of our zoo! Later, we transferred the elephant to the zoo of the city of Kobe (Japan), where she became everyone’s favorite. Vladimir Vladimirovich personally ordered her mother the elephant Zita to be handed over to our zoo, relying on good long-term friendly relations with the leadership of the Riga Zoo.

In 2010, Vladimir Vladimirovich gave us a pair of black-necked cranes; it was an instant decision after seeing our crane complex. There were many bright meetings, joint participation in Conferences. Now he is gone, and for all of us – this loss is marked by the end of an entire era in the history of our zoos and for the entire zoological community. Our entire team mourns with you.

Ray Pawley, Hedda Saltz

It is with a deep sense of grief that my wife, Hedda Saltz and I learned of President Spitsin’s passing from Tanya and then from Rosenthal. We extend our heart-felt condolences to the entire Zoopark Staff, and recognize the enormous loss this represents to the entire global Zoo family. We were very fortunate to have exchanged visits with him over the years beginning in the early 1980s.

He had extraordinary capabilities that included his profound ability to successfully guide the Zoopark through the early days following the coup without a roadmap. He had no applicable historical reference to consult regarding this singular event. Furthermore, with the assistance of Yuri Luzhkov he redesigned and oversaw new reconstruction of the Zoopark in those trying years. He had assembled the supremely remarkable staff that was able to partner and act on his guidance through such difficult times.

I will miss him enormously.

The team of Leningrad Zoo

Dear colleagues! We are deeply saddened by the news of the death of the President of the Moscow Zoo, Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsyn, who has headed Moscow Zoo since 1977.

For over 45 years, he worked at Moscow Zoo. It is difficult to overestimate his contribution to the development of Moscow Zoo and zoo business in Russia.

On behalf of the entire team, we express our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

The team of Karaganda State Zoological Park

A talented leader, who was greatly respected by all who knew him, has passed away. For many years Vladimir Vladimirovich headed Moscow Zoo, actively contributed to the strengthening and development of friendly ties between zoos. The team of Karaganda State Zoological Park of the Department of Culture, Language Development and Sports of the city of Karaganda expresses its sincere condolences on the death of EARAZA President Spitsin.

Vladimir Pokorny, director, and the entire team of the Hluboka Zoo, Czech Republic

Dear colleagues and friends!

In regards with the death of Vladimir Spitsin, we express our sincere condolences to you, to all the relatives and friends, to all the employees of Moscow Zoo and the Executive Directorate of EARAZA, to the entire zoo community. A prominent zoologist, a wonderful person, a mentor and teacher of all of us, and a friend – friendly, smiling with a wide heart, has passed away. A friend of Czech and Slovak zoos... We will remember him. We grieve with you.

The loss for all of us is very bitter, irreparable...

Shin Hong Chol, Emergency and Ambassador Plenipotentiary of the People Republic of Korea Democratic Republic in the Russian Federation

Accepting the news of sudden death of Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin, President of Moscow Zoo and the Euro-Asian Regional Association of Zoos and Aquariums, academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, on behalf of the Embassy and on my own behalf I express my deep condolences to EARAZA, the family and friends of the deceased.

During his lifetime, Mr. Spitsin personally visited DPRK, repeatedly sent to Pyongyang quite a few animals for developing the work of Zoos, which are paid great attention to by the top leaders of two countries, he made efforts to membership of Central DPRK Zoo in EARAZA, thereby laying the foundation for the development of exchange and cooperation between the Zoos of Korea and Russia.

His death is a great irreparable loss and sorrow for all of us. Expressing confidence that merits of V.V.Spitsin in the development of cultural exchanges between the two countries will forever remain in the memory of our peoples and EARAZA will continue to glorify his spirit of cooperation, I once again send my deep condolences to the relatives and close people of Mr. V.V.Spitsin and EARAZA.

Publishing House «Ore and Metals»

We express our deep and sincere condolences due to the death of an outstanding specialist and a wonderful person – Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin. For several decades he lead the Moscow Zoo firstly as the director, and in recent years as its president. Having headed the zoo in the Soviet times, V.V.Spitsin was able not even save in in hard perestroika and post-perestroika years, but also carry out a large-scale reconstruction in hard conditions, bringing the zoo in modern level. Vladimir Vladimirovich was deeply creative person, he was always searching new ways of development and was not afraid to move these ways, he was able to learn from foreign experience, for example such as creating Zoo Nursery in the Moscow region. He was distinguished by his excellent communication skill and ability to find the right approach to all people – from mayor or the minister to the ordinary employee of the zoo. Special attention V.V.Spitsin paid to children. We had a great fortune to see it ourselves, when Vladimir Vladimirovich enthusiastically conducted excursions in the zoo and the zoo nursery for our children and grandchildren, acting as a knowledgeable guide and a talented teller. Deep and retentive children’s memory will keep memories about happy and very kind «main uncle from the zoo» for a long time, who helped them to open the gates to the beautiful and still insufficiently known world of animals for the young generation. In recent years our Publishing House «Ore and Metals» regularly cooperated with V.V Spitsin in the framework of the preparation of a magazine, which was dedicated to domestic zoos (the main space, of course, was articles about Moscow zoo). We met with him more than once and each time we got solid energy charge from his enthusiasm, kindness and confidence. Vladimir Vladimirovich made great efforts in organization the preparations of these materials and now, when this project is already close to completion, it was especially bitter to know about his death. Bright memory of Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin, a Man «from a capital letter», will remain in our hearts forever. And the upcoming issue about the zoo will be the best confirmation if this information.

Yuri Durov and the collective of the theatre «Corner of Grandfather Durov»

Dear colleagues, friends!
Please accept our deep condolences due to the death of President of Moscow zoo Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin.
His working life was rich and diverse. We endlessly regret about this loss and we mourn with you.

The General Director of Almaty zoo Akilbekov Seylhan Orazbaevich, and also Almenbaev Cumec Mukashevich, Balahnova Raisa Ananolievna, Ahmetova Jeanne Shegebaevna, Edgebaeva Aiman Kizitovna.

On January 22, 2021, a wonderful man, a real professional who loved his work and devoted his whole life to it, the president of Moscow zoo, president EARAZA – Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin, passed away. The whole era has gone with him. Collective of the Almaty Zoo express deepest condolences to the relatives, friends and associates of Vladimir Vladimirovich. He made huge contribution to the development of zoos not only in Russia, but also in CIS. Vladimir Vladimirovich was a great friend of Almaty zoo, where he will always be remembered.

The collective of KGKP «Karaganda State Zoological Park»

Dear Svetlana Vladimirovna!

A talented leader, a man who commands the respect of all who knew him, has passed away. Vladimir Vladimirovich has been the head of Moscow zoo for many years, he actively helped to strengthen and development of friendly relations between zoos.

The collective of KGKP «Karaganda State Zoological Park» the Department of Culture, Languages and Sports Development of the city Karaganda express its sincere condolences due to the death of the President of EARAZA Spitsin Vladimir Vladimirovich.

The collective of the regional state-financed organization of culture «Zoo «Priamursky» named after V.L.Sysoev»

The collective of the regional state-financed organization of culture «Zoo «Priamursky» named after V.L.Sysoev» express its condolences due to the death of Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin.

This loss was a real shock for us, we sincerely empathize. It is impossible to believe that such great person is no longer with us. We share the bitterness of the loss with you and sincerely grieve for his good deeds.

Svetlana Vasilievna Borodushkina

Dear our Man! What a pity…

A part of history is gone, a part of my life is gone…

I came to work at the Moscow zoo in 2002. Those were wonderful years. I will always remember how every morning Vladimir Vladimirovich drove around the Zoo territory and waved to me – usual «new one» from the car and greeted me with nod! It was unusual, but then I realized that I was part of the collective, part of the team!

Only a real leader could give this sense of importance and necessity of each employee.

Thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich for your warmth, kindness and sensitivity, for your care and understanding problems of everyone, who address to you, for sparkling smile, for soulfulness and nobility!

Thank you for being in our lifes…

I express my condolences to the family from myself and from Nechaeva Antonina Mihailovna, who worked more than 40 years with Vladimir Vladimirovich before she retired, and she remembers these years with love and gratitude!

Bright memory for a bright Person!

Vladimir Simonyan, interim Director of Yerevan zoo

Interim Director of Yerevan zoo Vladimir Simonyan express his sincere and deep condolences to the family and close people, and also to the colleagues due to the sudden death of the President of the Moscow Zoo, the President of EARAZA, Chairman of the Council for the Coordination of Zoos activity of the Russian Federation, honored worker of culture of RSFSR and of Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin.

His death was a great suddenness and loss for everyone, who had worked with this wonderful, clever, hardworking person for many years. His huge contribution to the preservation of the environment is invaluable!

The bright memory of this experienced leader and talented scientist will forever remain in the memory of people who knew him.

Pavel Anatolyevich Lubenin, General Director of «Sports cultural complex» (Kogalym)

Dear colleagues!

On behalf of the collective of LTD «Sports cultural complex» (Kogalym) and on my own behalf, I express deep condolences due to Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin passing.

A talented leader, an influential person in zoological world, mentor and friend, he was respected by everyone, who knew him.

We sincerely express our condolences to the family, to close people, to all those people who had the honor to know him and to work with Vladimir Vladimirovich. We grieve with you.

Everlasting memory to him.

Vladimir Topchiy, The President of Ukraine Associations of Zoos and Aquariums, Director of the Nikolaev Zoo, Honored worker of culture of Ukraine

Ukraine Associations of Zoos and Aquariums, the collective of Nikolaev zoo express deep condolence to family and close people, to colleagues and to the collective of the Moscow Zoo due to the death of Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin – the Director, the President of Moscow Zoo, founder and President of EARAZA.

It is impossible to express the pain, which afflict all of us after what we have heard. Vladimir Vladimirovich – personified the person of the zoo world. He was the real leader, his word was listened to, he was asked for advice. This is truly irreplaceable loss. The image of a friend, a teacher, a wise person Spitsin Vladimir Vladimirovich will remain in the heart of every zoo man.

Ekaterina Uvarova, Head of Public the Public Relationships Department of Ekaterinburg Zoo

Good afternoon.

We are sending personal memories of the director MBUK «Ekaterinburg Zoo» Prilepina Svetlana Semyonovna

«Popular expression of Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin: «The Zoo choose its own people. They either go away immediately from here, or stay forever,» – it became a fateful in my work biography. You instantly understand from first meeting with him, that HE – is the main in this community – the highest professional, much-esteemed and loved by everyone leader, wise teacher and mentor, reliable protection and support in solving professional problems and «on the ground» and «in lobby of power», fine diplomat and politician in formation and saving constructive professional interactions not only on labor collective level, profile organization and country institutions, but also on international level, including those, where huge politicians didn't come to consensus. Dedicated to his work enthusiastic creator, guarantee of good undertakings, Vladimir Vladimirovich has always been the soul of any collective and company. It was very comfortable and reliable with him at kid-glove affair, in banqueting hall, on long business trips and even on forest trail.

It is unbearably difficult to accept Vladimir Vladimirovich death!

Sadness is endless!

It remains only to thank the fate for this short (6 years long) shared history. The memory of you, Vladimir Vladimirovich is in my heart, in our deeds, and of course in the continuation of the projects we have started»

Lisa and Volker Walter

Today we received very sad news. Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin,

the former director and president of the Moscow Zoo died the day before yesterday.

He was President of EARAZA and always a very competent partner in matters relating to animal keeping.

We fondly remember his visits to Germany in the 1990s, where we were allowed to accompany him on his zoo tours. He has advised and helped us on countless projects. He has

always mediated in the interests of the animals.

We wish his family a lot of strength and confidence.

We will miss him.

Mark Pilgrim, Ph.D, Chief Executive Officer, Vice Chairman EAZA, Chair EAZA EEP Committee

I was very sad to hear of the passing of Vladimir Spitsin and thought that I’d share a little personal anecdote of which I’m sure there are so many……..

Having been a smoker in the past, I often met Vladimir with the others in the zoo smokers crowd outside of meetings during break times. He always greeted me with warmth and kindness, he made me feel like a long lost friend and it was always a pleasure to meet up with him again. He also had a wonderful sense of humour and here is a little example….Back in the mid nineteen nineties when I was the Assistant Curator of birds here at Chester Zoo, I puppet reared an Andean Condor. In the December this bird was recommended to transfer to Moscow Zoo. I was in contact with Vladimir via fax and a translator and he described to me the very difficult economic situation in Russia at that time and the hardships people were facing. I sent the bird in the middle of December and on arrival in Moscow I received a fax from Vladimir that simply said «Thanks for the Christmas dinner!»

My deepest sympathies to all who loved this special man.

Very best wishes to all at Moscow Zoo

Mati Kaal, Deputy Director of Science and later The Director of Tallin Zoo from 1968 to 2016

Ants Vyarnik, Head of Aquarium and later Deputy Director of household part of Tallin Zoo from 1962 to 2008.

V.V.Spitsin father, a military man served in different cities. So it turned out that in childhood Spitsin lived in Tallin for some time. Their flat was located on Victory Square (now Liberty Square) at the same building as cafe Moscow. Great love for Tallin, especially to its Old city persisted in Spitsin soul for all his life.

Already from the time of his working in Leningrad and then in Moscow, V.V. Spitsin worked closely with Tallins Zoo and he was the great help for local development, lobbying in the all-Union central institutions and urging local politicians.

During the first foreign trip of 35 heads of Soviet Zoos in GDR, which was carried out in first half of 70s, V.V. Spitsin was elected as a head of the group. Ants Vyarnic, who was participated in the trip, remember that in Germany Spitsin was already known and esteemed. When Tallins Zoo moved from it's old territory in 1982 to Kadriorg in Veskimets, V.V. Spitsin and main veterinarian of Moscow Zoo came to help (the later took a gun with him, which shoots syringes – it was the only one in USSR at that time). V.V. Spitsin was on the place even 10 days before opening the Zoo on it's new territory, he personally helped to clean up construction garbage. He required dump trucks and over necessary cars, he worked as a driver himself – and that was every day until 9 p.m. For this he received a special thanks from Tallins town council.

Although the Ministry of Culture of the USSR allowed to celebrate anniversary of only one of the zoos per year all-union, but we were succeeded to celebrate 50th anniversary of the Tallin Zoo together with the 125th anniversary of the Moscow Zoo in August 1989. In honor of coincided dates, an international scientific and practical conference was organized with meetings in Moscow and Tallin, which were attended by almost 150 colleagues from all continents. Close cooperation with V.V.Spitsin, whether in place or through different international zoo and ecological organizations, continued after the Soviet Union breakdown. Both zoos and the global zoo community had a benefit from it.

Obtained in childhood love for Tallin and close friendship with many local people led to such fact – during 25 years (1988-2013) Spitsin's family spent their winter working holidays in Tallin, enjoying the local cultural life and discussing zoo problems. During these conversations ideas for the development of both zoos were born.

Let the earth you rest in peace, dear friend!

John & Sylvia Hartley

Dear Friends,

How very sad I was to learn of the passing of Vladimir Spitsin who I remember with much fondness and respect. I first met him in the late seventies, when he came to the UK on a trip supported by the British Council to visit a number of British Zoos. He and Marina his translator came across to Jersey for the day. What a memorable day it was. He was particularly keen to discuss our endangered species breeding programs and Gerry’s plans to expand our work overseas. A day of contrast, intense discussion and great humour.

Move the clock on a few years and I found myself travelling to Moscow with Pat Ferns the Executive Director of a Canadian film company to discuss with the authorities the possibility of us making a series of films on the country’s wildlife and wild places, including Gerry and Lee’s desire to include the people involved in their conservation. Remembering the time I spent with Vladimir the first thing I did was to write to him requesting a meeting. He showed us great hospitality and arranged several meetings with him and several members of the Zoo staff who had travelled extensively in the own country. They solved for us our main problem, which was where should we request permission to visit in such a vast country about which we knew so little. He even suggested that on a number of trips a member of his staff could accompany us. Without those discussions held over many months and on all seven of my reconnaissance visits, his presence and that of the staff involved made the project possible.

Unfortunately owing to the COVID-19 restrictions in place, I do not have access to my photographs. One of so many memorable moments in the eleven months I spent in the country was taking a photo of Gerry and Vladimir standing on either side of two huge female Walrus – framed by two giants of the Zoo and conservation world. Both great men sadly missed by our worldwide community.

Dr. Bernhard Blaszkiewitz

Dear colleges and friends,

with great sadness we all have learnt that our fantastic friend for so many years Vladimir Spitsin passed away, and we can't believe it. I know Vladimir since 25 years when I met him first in Berlin Tierpark and then nearly every year in Moscow (since 1996), Berlin and at international meetings (in this time IUDZG; later Waza). A very good was the annual conference in South Africa 1999. The relationship between Berlin (Tierpark and Zoo) and Moscow was always without any problems and a lot of animals were exchanged. We will never forget our friendship. Vladimir will stay in our hearts fоrever.

M.I. Buaro, General Director of Research Institute of applied biology of Guinea, professor

Dear Mrs. Akulova

Let me express our deep condolences due to the death of President of Moscow Zoo, academician and President of EARAZA Vladimir Spitsin. All his life was devoted to the Moscow Zoo and saving fauna in Russia, and it could be say – the whole animal world of our planet. He has done a lot for establishing international relationships, in particular with Republic of Guinea. He helped a lot in organization and functioning serpentarium in Guinea and in training of national staff in zoology.

We were lucky to take part in enchanting anniversary celebration of Moscow Zoo in 2014, which was organized by V.Spitsin. We took part in all unforgettable excursions and were impressed by the territory of Moscow Zoo, modernized by V.Spitsin, and also we were impressed by territory and activities of animal's reproduction center in Moscow stuffing. V.Spitsin activity and his kindness will remain in our memory forever, as an example of servicing and fidelity to science and to human community. We are sure that you will be true to traditions, which V.Spitsin lay down, and i am sure, that you will strengthen the friendships, founded by V.Spitsin with you foreign colleagues.

Tim Brown, Zoo Grapevine and International Zoo News, Independent Zoo Enthusiasts Society Chairman and founder

It was my good fortune to meet and spend a little time with Vladimir Spitsin on a couple of occasions as a guest of the Moscow Zoo. My impression was of a massive institution headed by a great man. Every aspect of the zoological garden seemed to be met and the time spent looking at the zoo and its workings over a period of many days was an uplifting experience. The account of the recent history of Moscow Zoo is one of enormous change and modernization within the career of a man who was responsible for much of it. His service to the world of zoos can never be over-estimated. Our day out to the Breeding Center was also truly memorable, Vladimir`s idea… his creation, and something very few zoos can boast of. Much good zoo work cannot be undertaken in full view of the public and here was the perfect solution. Even though we could not speak each other`s language, the mutual understanding was easy. Good zoos speak for themselves anyway. And of course the hospitality of the Moscow Zoo is truly legendary amongst zoo people,I could see that he cared very much for those of us visiting Russia and he saw to it that the country as a whole was represented in our memories.

Living in the UK, visits to Russia cannot be as frequent as I would like, but it is with a heavy heart that I contemplate any future visit to Moscow Zoo without the broad smile and warm welcome of Vladimir Spitsin. I wish his colleagues and family great strength at this difficult moment, and I salute a great zooman.

Steven Khol, From 1978 to 2017 Coordinator of nature protection cooperation between United States of America and Russian Federation, United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Washington

For family, colleagues and friends of V.V.Spitsin:

With regret I heard a bitter news that Vladimir Vladimirovich Spitsin passed away after coronavirus infection on January 22, he was much-esteemed person, dear friend and collegue during more than 40 years. He always found time to meet with me, when I arrived in Moscow. Thanks to his energetic support partnership between Moscow and American Zoos got stronger, exchanges of different kind of animals were developed, between them were amur tigers, Przhevalsky horses, swans trumpeters, snakes, and others. Vladimir Vladimirovich was invariably kind to me, and I had the honor to stay in famouse guest house – «Parrot house» for many years. It was my favorite play of staying in Moscow, and I will always remember walking around the Zoo, especially in the evening after it’s closing, when I was the only visitor and the only person in this animal kingdom.

I will miss Vladimir Vladimirovich too much. I am sure that during my future vitits to Moscow I will try to contact him to organize a meeting out of my habit. His passing became a great loss for all of us and I would like to convey my sincere condolences to his family and close people, to friends and colleagues.

Marc Damen, Former Director of Royal Rotterdam Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Former Chairman of the Dutch Zoo Federation

It is a great shock to me and to the whole zoo community to lose Vladimir Spitsin, who was not only a source of inspiration but also a good friend, a «gentle giant” so to say.

He was a great example in uniting the world; thanks to his connections, friendship and the conservation of biodiversity as top priority, there have never been any borders “between the zoological east and west”; many leaders in our world could learn from him, as with his way of working all parties were benefiting and this applied the most to the living creatures that are in our hands.
We lose a great leader and a great friend.

I wish you in Moscow Zoo all the best and take care and stay safe!