A zoo in Kharviv, Ukraine, says it may have to kill some animals after Russian shelling destroyed fences. Feldman Ecopark is trying to relocate animals, but if that option fails, some animals, such as lions and tigers, must be killed.
“Feldman Ecopark no longer exists,” zoo founder Alexander Feldman said in a video statement. The zoo was subjected to a bombing that basically destroyed it, he said in the video, which was posted on Facebook.
Animal enclosures were severely damaged, and Feldman warned that some animals could enter the streets. While the bears were in poor condition “by a pure miracle, tigers and lions are alive,” he said.
“Today we decide … we have time tonight to put them all down or transport them somewhere else,” Feldman said. Zoo teams worked in Chutovo to find a way to save the animals, he said. “Maybe we’ll save baby jaguars, baby panthers, but all adult animals are likely to be liquidated,” Feldman said.
In the caption to the video, the zoo said its specialists were considering the possibility of equipping some animals with temporary houses in Chutovo in the Poltava region of Ukraine. “If it does not succeed, the only option for us is to get the predators to sleep. It is unbelievably painful to talk about this, but the main priority now is human life,” reads the caption.
In another statement on the Feldman Ecopark website, the zoo said the lions almost ended up outside the enclosure after a recent round of shelling. “We stress that the killing of animals is an extreme measure that we very much hope will not happen,” the statement said. “Now we are negotiating with a large number of people and organizations, especially with those who can accept our animals in Ukraine and abroad.”
Still, there is a question of how to move the large animals. “Such an operation requires the presence of special transport and the participation of a fairly large number of people. Which with a high degree of probability will attract the attention of the enemy, who usually responds to activity in the territory of Ecopark with shelling,” reads the statement. .
CBS News has contacted Feldman Ecopark for a comment and is awaiting a response.
On March 4, about two weeks after Russia began its invasion, the zoo said staff were able to visit chimpanzees and orangutans for the first time since the war began. The monkeys had been sheltered by the Kharkov Zoo.
On Tuesday, the zoo was able to move Ukraine’s only family of tapirs – a herbivore with a short stem – and some other exotic animals from Kharkiv. They are in a temporary home in the Poltava region, according to Reuters.