The ongoing slaughter in Ukraine is devastating human and animal populations across the country. Earlier we reported on efforts to evacuate animals from war-torn areas. Today the news is much grimmer.
At least two animal caretakers who stayed behind to aid animals housed in a zoo have died. The zoo says they were killed by Russians. About 300 dogs held in a shelter have also died. They were locked into cages and deprived of food and water during fighting. Zoos may have to euthanize some of their charges due to damage from shelling.
The workers were assisting at Feldman Ecopark in early March. It is located in Kharkiv and is subject to Russian shelling. The two workers had stayed behind to help care for animals at the facility when they went missing. Their deaths have since been confirmed by the park. The park lays the blame squarely on Russians attacking Ukraine. The eco park is a zoo and family attraction. According to its website it offers individuals and families wholesome activities with programs geared to children. In its news section it said that the park had managed to take some of the animals to safety. Those rescued included wolves. donkeys and hyenas.
Another tragic outcome occurred at the Borodyanka Animal Shelter. About 300 dogs died there as a result of the war. Borodyanka is part of the Kyiv oblast (administrative region) and was heavily shelled during Russian assaults. Due to the invasion the animals were left behind in locked cages and many died or hunger or thirst. Others died on the way to veterinary care after rescuers reached the region.
Feldman Eco Park is monitoring surviving animals and has warned that some may need to be euthanized due to injuries sustained in the war.
Animal support groups from all over the world are raising funds and sending aid to Ukraine. Many animals have been successfully rescued and taken to shelter in Poland and other countries farther west but many remain at risk.
It is unclear what the impact of the war has been on Ukraine’s rich wildlife. What is clear is that prior to the fighting even the area around Chernobyl was seeing a resurgence of wildlife that astonished experts. The fire and explosion at the nuclear plan in Chernobyl had created a dead zone around the site. It was expected to remain a desert but an astonishing variety of wildlife had returned prior to the war.