Concern for animals in ukraine zoos

3 March 2022


We have all seen the terrible reports and images of the horrific invasion currently taking place in Ukraine. The situation overall – for people and animals – is simply devastating.

A photo of three elephants walking through a Namibian landscape.

Born Free has been trying to follow the situation regarding the zoos in Ukraine. But it is extremeley difficult without representatives on the ground in this region to know for sure what the exact situation is.

Whilst some international charities have launched appeals for funds and food to help dogs, cats, and other domestic animals in the country, the situation concerning animals in the zoos is being coordinated by the European zoo community. We understand that there has been offers of assistance from zoos and centres outside of Ukraine, resulting in some animals being evacuated. The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) are posting updates about the situation in Ukraine and have set up an emergency funding appeal here.

Born Free is also part of a working group that has been established by the European Alliance of Rescue Centres and Sanctuaries (EARS), coordinating efforts to try and move non-domestic captive animals across the country. If it is feasible to get animals out of zoos, sanctuaries, and private ownership in Ukraine, many may then need sanctuary homes in other countries. That is where Born Free is best placed to try and assist, where possible. 

“It is heart-breaking to think of the poor animals trapped in the zoos of Ukraine with no escape from the surrounding noise and terror,” said Born Free’s Captivity Campaigns Information Coordinator Sarah Jefferson. “Every time fighting breaks out in various countries around the world, the captive zoo animals always pay the price, as well as the civilian population – they are innocent victims.”

We are continuing to follow any reports and updates about the zoos in Ukraine, and hope that the fighting will cease, and sanity will prevail.



Image © Сарапулов, Wikimedia Commons