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Workers who stayed behind to care for animals in Kharkiv zoo ‘shot dead by Russians’ | Planet Attractions
     

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Workers who stayed behind to care for animals in Kharkiv zoo ‘shot dead by Russians’

Two workers who bravely stayed behind to care for the animals at the Feldman Ecopark in Ukraine have been found shot dead with the zoo claiming the keepers were ‘shot by the enemies’




Animals at the Feldman Ecopark continue to be evacuated between breaks in Russian shelling of Kharkiv   Credit: East2West

Two zookeepers who stayed behind in the under-fire city of Kharkiv to care for the trapped animals in their care have been found shot dead.

The two employees, whose names have not been released, were reported missing last month but a new video posted on the zoo’s social media channels confirmed the worst, with their bodies found “barricaded” in the back room of a zoo building with the Russian soldiers thought to be responsible for their deaths.

“War brings bad news,” said a statement from the zoo. “We have received confirmation that two of our employees who went missing in early March have died.

“When the war started, they stayed in the Ecopark and helped to feed the animals. We arrived at the Ecopark on March 7 and did not find them there.

“We searched for them for a long time, hooked up law enforcement officers. Until the last, we had been hoping that nothing irremediable had happened, and they were able to survive.

“But yesterday we received confirmation that their bodies had been found. Our guys were shot by the enemies, and their bodies had been barricaded in the back room.

“We’ll cherish the blessed memory of these wonderful and courageous people. Sincere condolences to their families and friends. We believe that inhumans who have committed this will definitely be punished!”

The zoo - the oldest in Ukraine - was home to more than 6,000 animals. It was shelled in the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with three employees and some animals killed in the repeated strikes. On April 5, it was set to put down its big cats following a direct hit to the zoo but donations from around the world and the courage of its employees mean that the animals were spared.

Further plans will see the zoo’s remaining animals moved to Odessa, where it is thought they will be safer in the short term. More than 4,000 people are understood to have provided assistance for the evacuation, treatment and food supply of Feldman Ecopark’s animals.

“Don't believe cruel information about animals being abandoned or not needed”, said zoo founder Alexander Feldman. “No animal will be left behind, whether a piglet, tiger or bear.”


The immediate worry for both the zoo and wider Kharkiv is the resupply of Russian troops in the region, which is now concentrating its attack on eastern Ukraine. The city, and the zoo, are under further threat of Russian bombardment and airstrikes in the coming weeks and months. Despite Russian claims of hitting only military sites, the country continues to target residential areas and kill civilians.

Last month the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) spearheaded a fundraising campaign that has already raised more than €500,000 (US$549,000; £418,000) in donations from individuals and institutions to aid animal attractions in Ukraine.

For more information and to donate, click here


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Workers who stayed behind to care for animals in Kharkiv zoo ‘shot dead by Russians’ | Planet Attractions

news

Workers who stayed behind to care for animals in Kharkiv zoo ‘shot dead by Russians’

Two workers who bravely stayed behind to care for the animals at the Feldman Ecopark in Ukraine have been found shot dead with the zoo claiming the keepers were ‘shot by the enemies’




Animals at the Feldman Ecopark continue to be evacuated between breaks in Russian shelling of Kharkiv   Credit: East2West

Two zookeepers who stayed behind in the under-fire city of Kharkiv to care for the trapped animals in their care have been found shot dead.

The two employees, whose names have not been released, were reported missing last month but a new video posted on the zoo’s social media channels confirmed the worst, with their bodies found “barricaded” in the back room of a zoo building with the Russian soldiers thought to be responsible for their deaths.

“War brings bad news,” said a statement from the zoo. “We have received confirmation that two of our employees who went missing in early March have died.

“When the war started, they stayed in the Ecopark and helped to feed the animals. We arrived at the Ecopark on March 7 and did not find them there.

“We searched for them for a long time, hooked up law enforcement officers. Until the last, we had been hoping that nothing irremediable had happened, and they were able to survive.

“But yesterday we received confirmation that their bodies had been found. Our guys were shot by the enemies, and their bodies had been barricaded in the back room.

“We’ll cherish the blessed memory of these wonderful and courageous people. Sincere condolences to their families and friends. We believe that inhumans who have committed this will definitely be punished!”

The zoo - the oldest in Ukraine - was home to more than 6,000 animals. It was shelled in the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with three employees and some animals killed in the repeated strikes. On April 5, it was set to put down its big cats following a direct hit to the zoo but donations from around the world and the courage of its employees mean that the animals were spared.

Further plans will see the zoo’s remaining animals moved to Odessa, where it is thought they will be safer in the short term. More than 4,000 people are understood to have provided assistance for the evacuation, treatment and food supply of Feldman Ecopark’s animals.

“Don't believe cruel information about animals being abandoned or not needed”, said zoo founder Alexander Feldman. “No animal will be left behind, whether a piglet, tiger or bear.”


The immediate worry for both the zoo and wider Kharkiv is the resupply of Russian troops in the region, which is now concentrating its attack on eastern Ukraine. The city, and the zoo, are under further threat of Russian bombardment and airstrikes in the coming weeks and months. Despite Russian claims of hitting only military sites, the country continues to target residential areas and kill civilians.

Last month the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) spearheaded a fundraising campaign that has already raised more than €500,000 (US$549,000; £418,000) in donations from individuals and institutions to aid animal attractions in Ukraine.

For more information and to donate, click here


 



© Kazoo 5 Limited 2022