As heartbreaking news continues to come out of Ukraine, so do stories of people finding ways to help provide hope to those who need it most. One such story from the latter category shows that even the animals in that country’s care are not being forgotten as Russia continues its invasion.
Animals are being evacuated from Ukraine’s Save Wildlife Rescue near the capital of Kyiv to be taken in by Zoo Poznań in neighboring Poland. However, the convoy carrying these animals met a treacherous obstacle when it was surrounded by Russian tanks.
Things looked dire but, thankfully, the zoo posted a video on Facebook that came with a hopeful update.
“We’d already lost our hope … yesterday around [6 p.m.] we received tragic news that the transport of animals we are waiting for on the Polish border was surrounded by Russian tanks. We spent the night waiting for the news, fearing the worst,” Zoo Poznań wrote. “Today a miracle happened! Kyiv defenders carried out transport through the occupation line. They’re on their way! For their safety, we can’t give further details now.”
Initially, the zoo posted an update explaining that they did at least make it to the Polish border, which connects to Ukraine on the west and is about a seven-hour drive from Kyiv at its closest.
“Transport is passing through Ukraine, crossing roads to pass areas of intensive bombing and firing,” Zoo Poznań shared. “They are still alive, we are waiting in great stress at the border, thank you for your support.”
On March 3, after a cold night, the zoo posted that the animals had made it across the border into Poland, writing, “we managed to save all of them.”
Sadly, some of Kyiv’s other wild residents have not been able to leave the war-torn city. The Kyiv Zoo, home to 4,000 animals, including the nation’s only gorilla, is currently on lockdown and zookeepers are staying onsite. The zoo posted about the famed gorilla, Tony, on Facebook on Feb. 28.
“The care of the animals does not stop – the zoo staff is on 24 hours a day,” read Kyiv Zoo’s update. “Animals are frightened by the loud sounds of explosions, but our veterinarians are constantly monitoring their condition.”
Kyrylo Trantin, the zoo’s chief, told Euronews that any opportunity to evacuate the animals had passed.
“It’s almost impossible to evacuate animals, because it’s impossible to provide appropriate veterinary service and transportation,” Trantin said. “For now, we have food supplies for around 10 days.”