By Tamsin Brown • 24 March 2022 • 13:07
Image: Journalists & Communicators Initiative
Ukrainian animal volunteers continue to work to protect animals despite the risk, but they need help from the wider global community.
Despite serious risks to their lives, Ukrainian volunteers relentlessly persist in their efforts to protect the animals under their care. However, wider awareness in the global community is essential if a real difference is to be made.
Since the war erupted on February 24, thousands of volunteer-led animal shelters located in the middle of warzones have been fully cut off from supplies. Russian forces are refusing to establish humanitarian corridors to give volunteers safe access, making it impossible to deliver food and supplies. Two volunteers were shot dead by the Russian military near Kharkiv when attempting to feed animals at a zoo, and animal shelters across the Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv regions have been under attack.
Over 3,000 animals and volunteers are trapped in the county’s largest shelter, Sirius, located in Dymer, 60 km north of Kyiv.
Iryna Lozova, the Sirius coordinator, said:
“For 26 days we have not been able to bring food and medicine to the people and animals. 3,165 dogs and 218 cats have become hostages. There will only be enough food for the animals until March 21 and there has been no fuel for the generator for two days. We are currently looking for organizations to help evacuate the animals abroad after the green corridor is created. They need to find a safe home.”
At Hostomel shelter, one of the oldest shelters in the country, more than 700 animals and 4 people have been stranded since the start of the war. The shelter has been hit by shells three times and attacked by a tank. As of March 20, the Hostomel shelter team said:
“We need at least one green corridor to bring food, medicine, fuel and water. From the first day of the war, all the employees of the Hostomel animal shelter have remained at their workplace. We are feeding not only the animals in the shelter but also those that have been abandoned by people”.
The Feldman Ecopark in Dergachiv, Kharkiv, has also suffered devastating consequences. The zoo at the park had about 2,000 animals, and they managed to evacuate four orangutans, nine chimpanzees and 22 alpacas. The press secretary of the park said:
“Unfortunately, in extreme conditions, animals die not only from injuries but also from the heart rupturing. Animals who are constantly in the line of fire experience constant stress, which has a great negative impact on their mental state and behaviour.”
The volunteers are urging local and international animal rights organizations to intervene and facilitate the establishment of safe passage to save the animals’ lives.
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Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news.
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