FOUR PAWS loading pet food supplies into a train headed to Ukraine

20 Tons of Food Makes Up Second Delivery For Ukraine Zoo Animals

FOUR PAWS partners with Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) to provide relief for war-torn zoos


April 29, 2022 –FOUR PAWS The global animal welfare organization delivers another twenty 20 tons of food to prevent the animals from starvation. With the tragic situation leaving large parts of the country heavily affected by war, many zoos are facing a precarious situation for both the staff and animals.

This will be in key partnership with the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), who will transport the supplies to Kyiv via Hungary. An ÖBB train left Vienna today and will bring the food to the Hungarian-Ukrainian border. From there, trucks will further deliver the goods to Kyiv Zoo, which will distribute the supplies to six other zoos in the region.

The war in Ukraine continues without an end in sight, with the Ukrainian people and their animals still suffering from the untold tragedy and horror of the conflict. At the beginning of April, a zoo in Kharkiv was heavily damaged by shelling. Many animals suffer from stress caused by the noise of the explosions and fighting. In March, FOUR PAWS was contacted by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources in Ukraine and requested to contribute to help deliver food to affected zoos in Ukraine. To provide some relief for the zoo animals during these challenging times, FOUR PAWS is sending 10 tonnes of pellet food and dry hay each for zoo animals, such as elephants, primates, grazers, and birds, to Kyiv Zoo. The zoo will store the food and then distribute it further to Kharkiv Zoo, Mykolayiv Zoo, Cherkassy Zoo, Odessa Zoo, Mena Zoo, and XII Months Zoo.

“There is a lack of everything right now, from food and medication to caretakers. Some zoos have been cut off from infrastructure and are not receiving supply and meat deliveries anymore. Therefore, we want to do everything we can at this stage to support the zoos affected by the war so the brave staff can stay on-site and can continue to care for the animals. The animals did not choose to be there. They are trapped. They are vulnerable and precious and we need to protect them. We are very grateful to ÖBB for their support with this urgently needed supply delivery,”

says FOUR PAWS veterinarian Dr Amir Khalil, who leads the team preparing the supplies and coordinating the transport.

ÖBB spokesperson Bernd Winter says: “We are very happy to support FOUR PAWS with the delivery of the food for the animals in Ukraine. The Rail Cargo Group is ready for any kind of help related to what we do best - transport and logistic services. This way, donations – in this case food for zoo animals in Ukraine – can reach their destination safely and reliably.”

In early April, FOUR PAWS already sent a delivery of nearly 20 tons  (over 40,000 pounds) of pellet food and dry hay for wild animals to Kyiv Zoo. FOUR PAWS began working in Ukraine in 2012 through its Stray Animal Care (SAC) program, which has delivered veterinary care to 30,000 stray dogs and cats in over 60 municipalities. With the development of a FOUR PAWS office in Kyiv, and the construction and opening of BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr in 2017, FOUR PAWS created a species-appropriate home for rescued bears while also supporting the Ukrainian government with enforcing the ban on the cruel practice of bear baiting.

FOUR PAWS, in collaboration with local partners, is also currently helping to care for Ukrainian refugees fleeing with pets by providing vaccinations, microchipping and medical treatments, transport boxes for pets, food, leashes, harnesses, and temporary accommodation. Together with the International Registration System - Animal ID and Dogs Trust Worldwide, FOUR PAWS has also set up a website called Ukrainian Pet Association Worldwide (UPAW) that accepts donations and facilitates the distribution of dog and cat food to hundreds of shelters in war-torn Ukraine. So far, 300 tons (over 600,000 pounds) of pet food have been delivered and approximately 50,000 dogs and cats have received food for the upcoming weeks.

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need, and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy, and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam, as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. 

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