It was U.S. General William T. Sherman who famously said “War is Hell.” and that is as true for animals as it is for humans.
Humans have always had a bad habit of involving animals in their conflicts. Whether it is riding horses into battle, training dogs to fight, or attaching burning brands to pigeons and sending them into besieged citie, humans have always treated animals badly in wartime, exploiting them for political gain. That in addition to the disruption and destruction of battle.
In the current war in Ukraine both domestic and wild animals are suffering and a variety of groups are taking active steps to assist zoos, veterinary clinics and rescue organizations. Reports are emerging of people fleeing the fighting with pets in tow, threats of destruction to zoos and the carnage of back and forth fighting over terrain.
Twin 1-year old male lions were rescued from Kyiv, narrowly escaping death. They were rescued from a Ukrainian sanctuary and taken to Opglabeek Belgium and the Natuurhulpcentrum. The Belgian organization is a wildlife rescue organization. The lions had been seized in Ukraine in an animal neglect case and were taken from the Ukrainian sanctuary to a zoo in Poznan, Poland. The Polish zoo then transferred them to Belgium.
Many organizations, including the Internation Fund for Animal Welfare, are mobilizing fund raising efforts and efforts on the ground.
As for the fate of Ukrainian wildlife it is unclear. Despite the deadly nuclear accident in Chernobyl. local wildlife was rebounding. Ukraine has diverse regions and plenty of wildlife including deer, boar, lynx and wolves. Or at least it did before the arrival of tanks and artillery.
The war is ongoing and it is unclear how much damage will result to animals in Ukraine. It is clear that many organizations are seeking funds and volunteers to help and responding creatively to the challenges posed by European war.