The Kakhovka flood devastates Ukrainian zoo that survived through war

 In the past year, the keepers at the Kazkova Dibrova zoo in southern Ukraine faced numerous challenges while trying to protect their animals during the Russian occupation. The surrounding park was mined and access routes were blocked, making it impossible to evacuate the animals. Despite the danger, workers risked their lives to feed the animals and even took some home during the winter months to keep them warm.

The community also came together to support the zoo, with farmers and residents bringing vegetables and hay to feed the diverse range of animals, which included two monkeys, a pony, a mule, a parrot, a crow, a groundhog, guinea pigs, and ferrets.

However, tragedy struck when a nearby dam burst on Tuesday, flooding the entire zoo and killing as many as 300 animals. The only survivors were a couple of swans and ducks. The zoo, known as "Fairytale Dibrova," was located in a park on the banks of the Dnieper River, just west of the Kakhovka dam, which ruptured after a reported blast.

The animal deaths were confirmed by Oleksandr Todorchuk, head of UAnimals, a rescue group that has helped shelter and rehabilitate animals during the Russian invasion. UAnimals sent rescue crews to the city to help save and feed any animals displaced by the dam’s destruction.

Both Ukraine and Russia have traded blame for the damage to the dam, with officials warning that the deluge of water unleashed by its destruction will forever change ecosystems and force towns downstream of the dam to relocate.

Zoos across Ukraine have been affected by the ongoing conflict, with animals at Kyiv's zoo being spooked by air raid sirens and blasts during Russia's attempt to seize the city last year. Zoos in other places, including the eastern city of Kharkiv, have also been damaged in the fighting.

Despite the devastation, there is still hope. The zoo received news that a baby swan, only five days old and thought to have been swept away in the floods, had been spotted by local residents swimming with its parents. The zoo urged local residents to keep an eye out for any other surviving animals and to care for them if they come across one.

طلحة عبد الكريم
By : طلحة عبد الكريم
مدير و محرر مدونة الموقع التقني.