LIVEBLOG: Animal shelter near Kyiv needs help evacuating more than 3000 animals

Woman with little black dog and sign with Stop War, animal news
A woman holds her dog with a sign during an anti-war protest in support of Ukraine, outside the Russian Embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica, March 2, 2022. photo: Reuters/Mayela Lopez

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Since Russia attacked Ukraine on Thursday, hundreds of thousands of people, sometimes with their pets, have fled the country.

Ukraine has around 50,000 stray animals and many animal shelters are running out of food and water. The country has millions of farm animals; sheep, pigs, goats, cows and chickens.

We’ll keep you updated on animal-related news from Ukraine. 

Shelter released dogs
“All dogs were released from their cages. Unfortunately, we had no other choice,” Best Friends shelter in Kyiv said on Facebook on Sunday.

Most dogs were still running around at the property, the shelter said. Staff will try to keep feeding them but released the animals to give them a chance at survival. Feeding them depends on whether the shelter can buy food and transportation to the shelter.

Animal shelter needs help to evacuate animals
“We are currently looking for organizations to help evacuate animals abroad,” Sirius animal shelter, based near Kyiv, said on Facebook on Friday.

The shelter said they have 3165 dogs and 218 cats in their care, who have now become “hostages of the war”. They have food till Saturday, and then that’s it. The shelter needs help to evacuate their animals, begging anybody to help them safely move their animals.

67 animals evacuated
Breaking the Chains has evacuated 67 animals from Ukraine, working around the clock to bring food and supplies to animal shelters and bringing back animals.

Bears from Kyiv find new home in Lviv
Seven refugee bears from White Rock Bear Sanctuary in Kyiv are getting used to their new home in the western city of Lviv, after enduring a 24 hour non-stop journey to safety.

Two lions arrive in Belgium
Two male lions Tsar and Jamil, who are one-year-old arrived, in Belgium Tuesday night. They were part of the group of six lions and six tigers who were evacuated from wildlife rescue center Wild Animal Rescue near Kyiv in Ukraine.

The animals will stay at the shelter in Belgium for three months and will then hopefully be able to move to a permanent home in a sanctuary in Africa.

Two lions Tsar and Jamil, Belgium March 9, 2022, photo: Natuurhulpcentrum VZW/Handout via Reuters.

Emotional goodbye to beloved cat Charly
Natalia Horobets and her husband Volodymyr made the extremely emotional decision to leave their beloved cat Charly at an animal shelter, where he will be taken to Latvia.

Three people killed on their way to dog shelter
The 26-year-old Ukrainian woman Anastasiia Yalanskaya was killed while delivering food to a dog shelter in Bucha, 30 kilometers outside Kyiv, according to a news report by Global News.

Yalanskaya and two men were killed while they were on their way to feed dogs. They had decided to stay behind to help humans and animals.

Chickens are starving in factory
Three million chickens at a huge chicken factory in Ukraine have not been fed for days, the mayor of Kherson, Ihor Kolykhaiev, said on Facebook on Saturday. Parts of the city have no electricity, and the machines that feed the chickens are not working.

Evacuated lions and tigers arrive in Poland
Six lions, six tigers, two caracals and an African wild dog arrived at a zoo in Poland on Thursday. They were evacuated a wildlife rescue center near Kyiv in Ukraine.

Employees Kyiv zoo live at the zoo
Employees of Kyiv Zoo have been living with their families at the zoo. They take care of around 4000 animals during the day and hide in the shelter at night, hoping the zoo will survive the war.

Concern for food and water for animals
“It is very important that more and more countries allow refugees from Ukraine with their pets,” Anja Hazekamp, member of the European Parliament and Party for the Animals, said on Twitter on Thursday.

“But we are very concerned about animals left behind in Ukraine who also urgently need help and food. We are in contact with the European Commission about this,” she added.

Evacuating zoo animals is not possible
“It’s almost impossible to evacuate animals, because it’s impossible to provide appropriate veterinary service and transportation,” Cyril Trantin, director of Kyiv zoo, told news agency EuroNews on Thursday. The zoo has food for about ten days.

The only gorilla in Ukraine, Tony, lives at the zoo. “He is now in the inside gallery of Beast Island. We are trying our best to communicate with him,” the zoo said on Facebook. Tony is 47-years-old and lived his whole life at zoos; he was born in a zoo in Germany.

Animal shelter hit again
“We got good news at first, and then terrible news. The shelter has been shot down again. Burnt out the enclosures with puppies and teenagers. They died,” Best Friends animal shelter said on Facebook on Thursday afternoon.

They fed the animals Thursday morning, but the shelter is back in a firing zone, Best Friends said, adding that no one will be able to go to the shelter and that they only have gas left for one ride.

“Please don’t donate your money now. There is no point at the moment. Help to stop this war!!!” the animal shelter pleaded. They need volunteers to feed and help with their animals more than finances at the moment.

Man risks live to bring food to animal shelter
“Our angel from yesterday! Brought to the shelter 24 bags of feed, soft food for cats for two or three days, and a little food for people. God save such heroes!” animal shelter Gostomel said on Facebook on Thursday.

“This is a real man, who despite everything came here”, a worker at the shelter said in the video about the man named Vlad.

Bats stored in fridge
“Due to the uncertain situation in the country, we are preparing a system for the independent departure of bats to freedom,” the Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center said on Facebook.

The staff took some of the hibernating bats home and stored them in their fridge.

Shelters attacked
“The Ark wild animal shelter [near Kyiv] was attacked. The occupants fired security and animals on the territory,” Ukrainian animal welfare organization UAnimals said on Tuesday.

Another organization, Best Friends shelter housing more than a thousand dogs, was also attacked, UAnimals said. “According to the owners of the shelter, the destruction is terrible,” UAnimals said. The owners were able to rescue the dogs by releasing them.

“Trouble! We have been shot! Smashed out the windows in the rooms. In the cat house too. There is no light. Workers on the edge to escape. Asya (78 years old) will remain and the manager Maxim,” Gostomel animal shelter said.

The shelter with more than 700 animals is in desperate need of people who can help them with caring for the animals, food, water and gas.

Blind dog rescued
“People keep leaving animals. I have twisted feelings last five days. I am proud of our army. For our president. For all people who stayed and help everywhere,” Marina from Ukrainian animal shelter Friends said.

But she adds that many people left dogs chained or locked and call her to feed their animals, while she’s trying to take care of so many animals.

Breeders also leave their animals with her. Her team rescued a blind dog who was left behind. ” Fully blind girl. Scared of any touch. I named her Victory,” Marina said.

EAZA in contact with zoos
The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) said in a statement on Tuesday that they’re in contact with three zoos in Ukraine: Nikolaev Zoo, Kyiv Zoo and Kharkiv Zoo. “They are still managing to provide care for their animals, and for the moment, their staff and their families remain safe,” EAZA said.

“For the moment, our Ukrainian Members are not asking for immediate assistance from other Members or from the public, but this may well change,” EAZA added.

“Animals are terrified by the loud sounds of explosions, but our vets are constantly monitoring their condition,” Kyiv zoo said on Facebook.

Dog dies in shelter
“We are devastated to share that our partner shelter in Gorlovka sustained damage and, unfortunately, one dog was killed after a shell hit the facility,” animal welfare charity International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said on Twitter on Monday.

IFAW added that staff remain working and care for the dogs: “We’re working with the team to assess damage and help as much as we can.”

The organization said they will not enter Ukraine but will try to send food to animal shelters in Donetsk and Gorlovka with 1,100 dogs in their care. 

If you have any news on animals in Ukraine, please mail us or dm us via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

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