The Kherson Zoo - Dnieper River Island (July 2014)
The conditions for some of these animals is shocking and there is no funding allocated to some zoos whatsoever. Funding to all zoos around the country have been cut by the government. Apart from the assistance we are providing to zoos around the country we have started work on a project in the city of Kherson, Ukraine. The “zoo” is situated on an island on the Dnieper river. This is an ex-privately owned zoo where the animals are living in horrendous inhumane conditions. There are 5 Brown bears living in a combined area of 42 sq/m. There is no other word to describe it, “A prison” made completely of steel and metal bars which includes a steel floor. Temps drop to -25C in winter (excluding the wind chill factor) and I am sure you can imagine how cold these cages get. The bears are divided into 2 enclosures. The adult male, 24 years plus has lived in his 3m x 6m steel cage since before the fall of the Soviet Union. The 2 adult females and their cubs share an enclosure of 4m x 6m. They will soon outgrow their area. We also have a family of 8 wolves that share to areas of 2.5m x 2.5m. These are just some of the 200 animals at this zoo. None of these animals have ever set foot on natural ground.
We wish to create a sanctuary for these animals where they can live in humane conditions and experience some quality of life while helping educate the public on how to better live side by side with all life on earth. We plan to refurbish and increase the size of the bear enclosure to 300sq/m so these magnificent animals can at least get around outside of their cages and even have a pool in which to swim, something they have never done before.
The wolf enclosure will also be increased substantially giving them opportunity to venture out of their tiny enclosures so they can at least run around and experience some quality of life. We have made a commitment to the local council that we will take care of these animals until the council can afford to take over. Donations from the public will guarantee a safe, humane and happier future for these animals and set an example for better practices in other parts of the world.
We need a minimum of $40000 to refurbish existing enclosures and to make the enclosures larger as well as secure enough to hold a 500kg brown bear. One of the negative factors contributing to the price is the location of the zoo. It’s on an island which is not accessible by motor-vehicle. It can only be accessed by foot traffic or small boat so all materials need to be carried, dragged or pushed to the construction site which is at least 600m from a delivery area. Smaller items can be taken by boat. The only size vehicle that would fit on the bridge would be a diesel powered golf cart but there’s no cash for that. The area is really beautiful but very bad Soviet era design where no consideration to the animals comfort was given. The urgency is that we have to complete construction before winter sets in. It is however a popular tourist attraction which we hope to utilize for educating children to raise their respect and understanding of all life on earth.
Ukraine's Zoo's in Crisis
Apart from coming out of a long winter where the visitor attendance drops to zero, you may know about the extreme political and economic unrest in Ukraine presently, but what you may not be aware of is the effect it is having on the animals at some of the Ukrainian zoos. While many of us are consumed with our own needs and daily lives, sometimes there are others who occasionally need our assistance in order to survive through an immediate crisis. Please take a minute to learn about this very important initiative and what LAEO is doing to handle it.
Right now, in Ukraine, there are thousands of animals at the mercy of kind people under intense economic duress willing to donate food and supplies in order to ensure the animals stay alive. Their government is having to make extremely difficult economic choices and the zoo has fallen off the priority list. At the Nikolaev Zoo, there are 6000 animals on the brink. There is only enough food left for the carnivores to eat today and tomorrow. The herbivores have enough to last two more weeks. Medical supplies have run out. The zoo will not have the resources to take care of these needs until the end of April when the weather gets warmer and the fees from zoo attendance go into a viable range.
Based on Lawrence Anthony's extraordinary rescue initiative of the Baghdad Zoo during the Iraqi war, we have been in direct communication with Nikolaev Zoo and let them know that we are taking this situation on.
We must raise the funds necessary to cover about $3,000 per day to handle the animals' most basic subsistence needs of food and medical supplies for the next three months. In four to six weeks, when the weather begins to warm up, the admissions collected by visitors to the zoo will begin to help feed the animals, as well. But we need the breathing room to be able to then begin to help the zoo officials create and implement new forms of income streams so that they can become more self-sustainable and not so dependent on government funding. We want to make sure that not one animal perishes in the present crisis.
For those of you familiar with what Lawrence 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. Your donation - small or large - will go a long way in helping get this situation turned around. The Director of our Ukrainian Chapter, Lionel de Lange, is committed to ensuring that all funds received go directly towards the food and care of the animals.
You CAN make a difference.
We thank you in advance for your help, and will keep you closely updated on our progress.
Please click HERE to make a donation right now! Use the drop down tab on the donations page and select "Zoo's in Ukraine"
Director of Development
Homeless Animals in Nikoleav
Nikolaev has a staggering amount of homeless animals, many of which are fed by residents of the city that sometimes battle to feeds themselves.
More on this to follow....