NEWS AND COMMENT – KHARKIV, UKRAINE: The zookeepers at Kharkiv Zoo are making plans to euthanize the big cats and bears in case Russian shelling allows them to escape into what’s left of the city. And I presume to save them from being shelled to death by the Russians. Far better to euthanize these big cats than allow them to be shelled and quite likely badly injured. Or if they escape, they would be free to run around a semi-destroyed city with nothing to eat and where they would terrify the few citizens who are on the street.
Can you imagine what that would be like? It does not bear thinking about. Lions and tigers roaming around a badly shelled and partly destroyed Ukrainian city with the odd citizen brave enough to be outside and the remainder in basements. It paints a picture of complete madness.
The zookeepers are fearful that the big cats will escape. Their cages are already holed by more than five weeks shelling in this hellish war. They say that it is a miracle that they have not already escaped.
The zoo is called Feldman Ecopark after the owner Alexander Feldman. They have already evacuated some animals including some kangaroos but they are desperate to move the bigger predators to an old horse-riding complex in the Poltava region.
Feldman said that his zoo no longer really exists. He said if they can’t move them then they will have to euthanise them. They find the whole process unimaginably painful. Alexander Feldman spoke about the predicament that his zoo was under and said that if there is one more shelling the big cats and bears may escape into Kharkiv because of fear.
Note: This is an embedded video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source or the video is turned into a link which stops it working here. I have no control over this.
The aviaries have been destroyed as has the infrastructure. It’s amazing that the tigers and lions have survived. It must be absolutely hell for them though. They must be terrified by the noise and the destruction.
The zoo has some jaguar cubs as well and they will try to save them. But Mr Feldman is very pessimistic and says that even the cubs looked likely to be euthanised.
Yesterday and today, there was more shelling in the area and of the zoo. On March 17 the shelling killed two orangutans and chimpanzees. Two days after that nine deer were killed by the shelling and 20 escaped into the woods nearby.
Some kangaroos have been evacuated, however. Before the war the zoo had more than 300 species of animal.
It is obviously completely untenable to run a zoo during the middle of a war such as this one where there is mass destruction. The number of animals, domestic and wild, that are being killed and that have been killed is unimaginable. I’ve just read that a dog shelter was left abandoned with the dogs in cages for several weeks resulting in hundreds of dogs dying of starvation.
I couldn’t write about that in detail because it’s just too horrific. The area had been occupied by the Russians and therefore the Ukrainians couldn’t help the dogs. Is there no end to this hell which is entirely the work of the Russians and at the top of that hierarchy is Putin who’s been accused of war crimes by President Biden and genocide by President Zelensky. The Russian deny everything.