Its a mistake, you were not planned but this was the best mistake ever.
I did not set out to start this chapter but now I really want to do it. It all started with a conversation I had with the vet that takes care of my dog. I had heard a rumor that the zoo was in trouble and the animals were on the brink of going hungry. I felt very bad about this and spoke with my sister in Cape Town and she said why don’t I try to get some help. She told me about Lawrence Anthony and said I should let them know and maybe they could do something or at least point me in the right direction. Here we are, I'm setting up a chapter and it feels good knowing that we can help. After making contact with Barbara Wiseman, International President of LAEO and collecting the info she needed, the more interested I got. There is also a staggering amount of homeless dogs and cats in Nikolaev and is very close to my heart which is something I'd like to work on at a later stage as soon as we can get the Zoo's out of their crisis.
Now that I have committed myself to being fully involved I would like to build up a long term relationship with the Zoo's, Animal parks and Dolphinariums in Ukraine. My first priority is to make sure the animals get fed immediately. Produce(vegetables etc.) is not a problem for now as donations from residents are covering that, but getting meat to feed the carnivores is expensive and can only be supplied by registered suppliers with the necessary health certificates. That is number 1 priority at the moment and then to get medical supplies and cleaning materials. Once we are back on track with visitor attendance being good we will be able to cover the feeding problems or at least cover most of that cost. I would then like to get involved with various initiatives and ideas for the zoos to generate extra income over and above the gate takings, concession stands and any payments they may receive from the municipalities. I intend to build up reserve funds because without assistance from government we are going to have this problem every winter when attendance drops and income dries up. This problem I think will continue for a few years so we need to educate the zoo's on earning their own extra income.
And the new Ukrainian baby is born on the 17 March 2014 @ 8.45am.