Donor bequeaths Prague Zoo nearly 17 million crowns in will

Zoo director Miroslav Bobek has revealed more details about the unusually large donation received by Prague Zoo earlier this month.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 23.10.2021 13:26 (updated on 24.10.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

A long-term visitor identified as a woman with the initials J. Ř. left Prague Zoo nearly 17 million crowns in her will. Zoo director Miroslav Bobek announced the donation earlier this month, and revealed some more details about the circumstances surrounding it this week.

"The gratitude and support shown for Prague Zoo is my daily joy. And sometimes it surprises me. Like now," Bobek wrote on his personal Facebook page on October 10.

"I have received a report that, based on a resolution of the District Court for Prague 10, Prague Zoo has received a bequeathment from Mrs. J. Ř. of assets in the amount of CZK 16,769,398."

While Bobek didn't elaborate on the circumstance of the donation in his original post, after an outpouring of support in the comments he received a letter from friends of the deceased woman, which he shared with their permission this week.

"With Mrs. Ř. we formed an inseparable trinity for 50 years, we were three lifelong soul mates. For the last two years, Mrs. Ř. was seriously ill, and because she had no relatives, we went through the whole situation with her and accompanied her to the last moments," the friends, who identified themselves as J.S. in Prague 9 and D.C. in Prague 3, wrote to Prague Zoo's director.

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"The last months of her life, when she already knew that her life was coming to an end, she began to consider what to do with the property that would remain after she passed."

According to her friends, J. Ř. was a frequent visitor of Prague Zoo over the past 50 years. She often went to the Zoo to expel negative thoughts.

"She used to go to the Prague Zoo to 'ventilate negative thinking' all her life, as she said, so she logically came to the decision to bequeath all her property to the zoo," they write.

"It was quite complicated, everything was arranged when she was already in the hospital, we took the notaries there to see her, so we are acquainted in detail with the genesis of this gift, but we succeeded. We are very happy about that."

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The two friends went on to thank Bobek for acknowledging their longtime friend, grateful that her gift did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

They noted that it proved emotional to read the supportive comments under Bobek's original post, but it also brought them a sense of satisfaction. If their friend had seen the comments, she "would certainly be happy that she did a good deed and people understand it that way," they added.

The friends ended their letter by asking Bobek if information about the gift and its donor could be made available to the public at the zoo in some form.

"Mrs. Ř. she never endured any applause or expressions of gratitude, but we are both convinced that this would really please her," they wrote.

In his follow-up post, Bobek confirmed that acknowledgement of the gift would be placed at Prague Zoo, and that suggestions regarding its form were currently being taken into consideration.

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