APRIL 6 2022 – With the tragic situation in Ukraine, leaving large parts of the country heavily affected by war, many zoos are facing a precarious situation for both the staff and animals. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine requested FOUR PAWS to contribute to the relief efforts for wild animals in the affected zoos. To provide some relief in these uncertain times, the global animal welfare organization is now delivering nearly 20 tons (over 40,000 pounds) of animal food to Kyiv Zoo. Kyiv Zoo will then take over the distribution of the food to other zoos in the region.
FOUR PAWS veterinarian Dr. Amir Khalil and his team quickly coordinated a food supply within a short time frame. The food was ordered from the Netherlands and Hungary. A truck from an external transport company carried the 20 tons of food worth approximately $12,000 to Kyiv. The delivery consists of special pellet food for wild animals such as giraffes, elephants, primates, as well as dry hay, and dog and cat food to be distributed to shelters.
“Due to the ongoing attacks, regular food and meat deliveries are not possible anymore. Evacuating wild animals while many parts of the country are under attack is a too risky and dangerous endeavor in the given situation, therefore we are for now doing everything we can to support the zoos with what they need to care for the animals on-site,”
-Dr. Khalil, FOUR PAWS veterinarian and mission leader
“As the war continues, the animals are not only stressed from the noise of explosions and fighting but also at risk of starving. The zoo staff that courageously stay to care for the animals fear for their safety every day. With the food delivery, we want to relieve them of at least one burden by not having to worry about food for the animals on top of everything else. This mission shows solidarity with our colleagues in the zoos and the animals likewise. Receiving the request from the Ukrainian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources was a great honor for FOUR PAWS that underlines our reputation as a trustworthy and competent partner for animal welfare also in conflict zones,” says Dr Khalil.
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.
The staff at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr and the 34 bears there are currently safe and doing well given the circumstances. However, BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr is closed to the public. Although closed, FOUR PAWS continues to offer help to bears in need, recently rescuing former “restaurant bear” Vova and bringing him to the sanctuary. In early March, the sanctuary also took in four bears temporarily from FOUR PAWS partner organization Save Wild Fund, whose White Rock Bear Shelter is located near Kyiv. Three more bears were transported further to sanctuaries in Germany.
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.
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, 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. www.fourpawsusa.org