Taigan Safari Park Rescue 24 April 2014
30 second video of LAEO Ukraine's meat delivery to save the lions and tigers at the Taigan Safari Park in Crimea.
April 24th, 2014
Rushing to Rescue 62 Starving Lions and Tigers in Crimea, Earth Organization Appeals for Peace and Funds for Ukraine
Kiev, Ukraine, April 24, 2o14—While the crisis in Ukraine escalates on all fronts, the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization (LAEO), a politically neutral nature conservation non-profit, is giving a voice (and meat) to at-risk lions and tigers in Crimea, in addition to thousands of other zoo animals in Ukraine threatened with starvation in the midst of turmoil. LAEO’s latest delivery of 6 tons of meat to Crimea demanded navigating through military checkpoints and a tetchy border crossing to save more than 62 lions and other big cats residing at the Taigan Animal Safari Park. In spite of their victory over this hurdle, the urgent need continues, “If these animals had not gotten the meat soon they would have begun to die horrible deaths in a matter of days; but we’re still in crisis because it is only enough for 7 days,” said Barbara Wiseman, LAEO’s International President.
LAEO’s Ukraine Director Lionel de Lange said, “They are all just innocent victims of this international conflict. We’ve had to basically adopt close to ten thousand animals that are in dire straits in Ukrainian zoos, and now, also, these carnivores with very expensive diets in the Taigan Park.” De Lange reports they have now delivered over 16.5 tons of food for the country’s zoo animals in the past 3 weeks, but say purchasing logistics are becoming increasingly difficult and arranging travel to Crimea for the vulnerable lions was quite complicated.
When LAEO contacted the Crimea safari park director Mr. Oleg Zubkov, they found him distraught over the situation having just returned from Moscow to plead with government officials to reopen zoo bank accounts so food could be purchased. He reported that Moscow officials expressed sympathy and said they would work on it but did not provide an aid timeline. The Park Director also said he had to start slaughtering his domestic/petting zoo animals, goats and so forth to keep the lions alive. In the face of the gravity of the circumstances, LAEO US raised emergency funds to cover short term needs while working to establish diplomatic channels into Russia to free up Taigan Park’s funds. “We have secured the necessary authorizations, an ethical supplier giving us a reasonable price for the meat, and worked with Mr. Zubkov to truck certified meat across the border as quickly as possible so these big cats don’t starve,” said Wiseman. “But what we can afford right now is only enough to keep this large pride in food for a few more days.”
According to BBC News last week http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26994303 the animal park’s funds were blocked with the Ukraine bank shut down, leaving no means of sustaining the animals.
Wiseman concluded, “While animals and the environment are horribly impacted by these international conflicts, they have no voice in it and are utterly dependent upon rational or irrational human judgment. We are urging for peace and cooperative co-existence while speaking on behalf of these animals to Ukraine, Russia, Europe, the United States, the UN and all stakeholders involved in this crisis. Until a resolution is reached, we are appealing for help from caring world citizens to keep these magnificent creatures alive.”
Famous for his rescue of Iraq war-impacted zoo animals in Bagdad, and his pivotal part in peace negotiations between the Lord’s Resistance Army and various governments to save the last remaining northern white Rhino’s in the Congo, Lawrence Anthony was no stranger to the challenges of safeguarding forgotten animals during international clashes. “You can’t separate man from the animal kingdom,” he said. “We have ethical responsibilities: if you are going to cage wildlife, you have to take responsibility. During the invasion of Iraq, only 30 out of 650 animals at the Bagdad Zoo had survived by the time I got there.” See CBS interview at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46fQBDfYAJo
MARCH 26TH, 2014
UKRAINE TURMOIL LEAVES ZOO ANIMALS IN DIRE NEED OF FOOD.
LAWRENCE ANTHONY EARTH ORGANIZATION LAUNCHES SUPPORT CAMPAIGN
NIKOLAEV, UKRAINE - March 26, 2014 – Following in the footsteps of Lawrence Anthony’s extraordinary Bagdad Zoo animal rescue mission at the onset of the Iraq War, an entrepreneurial, animal-loving, bush war veteran from South Africa, now Ukraine resident, Lionel de Lange, has taken on a unique cause with the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization (LAEO) to save 6000 plus Ukraine zoo animals from starvation brought on by economic and political strife in the region.
While international governments are calling for support for the nation’s failing economy and looming debt default, thousands of Russian soldiers are amassing along the border causing fear and speculation among some of the Ukrainian population that Russia will move to take over even more of the region than their current annexation of the Crimea. In the midst of this economic and political turmoil, thousands of Ukrainian zoo animals are in dire straits because government funding for their food has dried up, leaving the animals to starve if aid is not provided by people of goodwill.
After receiving several pleading calls and communications from individual’s about the plight of the zoo animals, LAEO’s International President, Barbara Wiseman was contacted by de Lange and appointed him Director of a newly formed Ukrainian Chapter dedicated to the zoo crisis. “We want to make sure that not one animal perishes in the present crisis. For those of you familiar with what Dr. Anthony had to deal with in Baghdad, you know how quickly things can get very bad. In just 9 days, before he arrived, that zoo went from 600 animals down to 35. Most died from starvation and dehydration. We are asking you to help us ensure that none of these animals die on our watch,” Wiseman said in an emergency meeting with LAEO staff and volunteers.
Once obtaining details on the situation from de Lange who is in direct contact with Ukrainian zoo officials, Wiseman immediately launched a fundraising campaign to supply food for the starved zoos. “This situation underscores the reasons why we submitted to both the UN and the International Criminal Court our proposed Wildlife in War Zones Resolution.”
While de Lange cautions anyone calling Ukraine a ‘war zone’ just yet, he is, nevertheless, determined that zoo animals will not perish as a result of political and economic instability.
“Just in the past couple of days since we began getting the word out to our members and supporters, people are beginning to step up and donate to ensure none of these animals unnecessarily suffer or perish. We have to cover their immediate needs and get some breathing room here so that we can then help zoo facilities implement self-sustaining longer-term solutions,” said Wiseman.
LAEO’s first rescue target is Ukraine’s 114 year old Nikolaev Zoo which has survived two World Wars. It currently houses 5,735 animals, including big cats, wolves, bears, bison, fox, monkeys, crocodiles, boas, deer, and a wide variety of birds and fish.
“At the Nikolaev Zoo, these thousands of animals are on the brink. There is only enough food left for the carnivores to eat today and tomorrow. The herbivores have enough to last one more week. Medical supplies have run out. These animals need our help right now,” said de Lange.
Lawrence Anthony (17 September 1950 – 2 March 2012) an international conservationist, environmentalist, and bestselling author had a reputation for bold conservation initiatives. Dr. Anthony, the only noncombatant allowed into Baghdad in 2003 during the first several weeks of the coalition invasion, made international headlines with his heroic zoo rescue initiative in Baghdad which will soon be the subject of a Hollywood movie based on the book: Babylon’s Ark, co-written by Anthony and Graham Spence. Also drawing world-wide notice, was Anthony’s famous herd of traumatized wild elephants who became intensely loyal to him, and were featured in the co-author’s bestselling book: The Elephant Whisperer. One of the many extraordinary events between Anthony and the elephants recently reported is when the herd walked 12 miles to his Thula Thula game reserve residence after having an uncanny, sixth-sense perception of his demise. The herd appeared and stood outside the perimeter fence mourning his death with the family nearby for several hours and has since returned to the house on its anniversary for the past 2 years.
De Lange, a 48 year old, retired businessman and successful entrepreneur who relocated to Ukraine found himself in an animal care-giving role after providing food for abandoned stray animals and rescuing a puppy hit by a car outside his home in the city of Nikolaev. De Lange says he did not set out on this course to start an organization, but once finding out more about Lawrence Anthony’s conservation work, he decided to take the problem on and help the zoos build something more economically sustainable.
Please follow the blue highlighted links to read the full stories.
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10 April 2014
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9 April 2014
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9 April 2014
Youtube clip of the Nikolaev Zoo
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9 April 2014
Ukraine's Zoo Animals Struggle to Survive Amid Political Turmoil.
Mashable's interesting and very informative regarding LAEO's rescue of the zoo animals.
9 April 2014
Animals At Ukraine Zoo Are Starving Due To The Ongoing Crisis.
Business Insider report on our efforts with some of the zoo's.
7 April 2014
Ukraine Turmoil Leaves Zoo Animals Starving
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2 April 2014
Reuters coverage of out trip to Mezhigori'ye, Ex-President of Ukraine's private zoo.