Since the Russian invasion, a tremendous effort to save wild and exotic animals is carried out in Ukraine. Within days Natalia Popova’s asylum filled with exotic animals rescued from rubble, wounded and hungry. The insane bravado of this operation is a larger-than-life story on human condition.
Since the Russian invasion, a tremendous effort to save domestic, wild, exotic and endangered animals is carried out by volunteers. Days after aggression Nataliia Popova’s asylum filled up with exotic animals — big cats, bears, avians, reptiles — left behind by the owners and found by the army. Locked in enclosures, in ruins, often wounded, occasionally roaming free, and starving, were endangered animals of questionable origin.
Everybody wants a private "Disney-moment”, explained Andrew Kushnir, American vet and volunteer, while bottle feeding three lion cubs he took-over in a duffle bag at Odessa train station. They came from an anonymous individual for whom they became too much of a burden in the wake of war and crackdowns on black market trade. He underlines these are not pets, they are extraordinarily challenging, and they are victims.
On Polish side Ewa Zgrabczyńska, director of ZOO in Poznań, went all-in to answer to Popova’s desperate call for help, by creating a framework that allowed for extraordinary transit the animals to Poznań ZOO for quarantine and care, before redirecting them to asylums around the world.