Thousands of animals trapped at Kyiv Zoo in Ukraine

A lucky caravan of lions and tigers escaped from an animal sanctuary in war-torn Ukraine this week — but thousands more animals remained stranded at the Kyiv Zoo on Friday, according to zookeepers and reports.

A total of 80 animals were evacuated from an unnamed sanctuary near the city’s airport to the Poznan Zoo in western Poland as Russian troops launched a ruthless attack on Kyiv, the Poznan Zoo said on Facebook.

But roughly 4,000 other animals — including elephants, camels and Ukraine’s only gorilla — remained stuck at the Kyiv Zoo, which has just enough food to feed them for 10 more days, according to the UK Independent.

Natalia Popova, who runs the sanctuary, said she feared all captive animals in the city would “either die from bombs or starvation,” according to the outlet.

At the Kyiv Zoo, zookeepers have given elephants and other animals sedatives to calm them down during the explosions and gunfire.

Employees from Poland’s Poznan Zoo evacuated this tiger from a sanctuary near Kyiv, Ukraine.
Two caracals were evacuated from Ukraine arrived at the the zoo of Poznan.
Two caracals evacuated from Ukraine arrive at the Poznan Zoo on March 3, 2022.
EPA/Jakub Kaczmarczyk

“Animals are terrified by the loud sounds of explosions, but our vets are constantly monitoring their condition,” the zoo wrote on Facebook.

The zoo had not evacuated any of its animals as of Friday.

Meanwhile, the sanctuary’s furry evacuees — which included six lions, six tigers, and two caracals of African wild dogs — were chosen based on who had the best chance of surviving, Popova said.

Get the latest updates in the Russia-Ukraine conflict with The Post’s live coverage.

During the chaotic evacuation, the caravan came under fire by Russian troops, and drivers were forced to take a long route around blasted-out areas of northwestern Ukraine, the outlet reported.

Tigers, evacuated by Poznan Zoo employees from a sanctuary near Kyiv, Ukraine, to Poland, are seen at Poznan Zoo in Poznan, Poland March 4, 2022.
Tigers from a sanctuary near Kyiv, Ukraine are seen at Poznan Zoo in Poland on March 4, 2022.
A member of Poznan Zoo makes check at a truck carrying animals from a sanctuary east of Kyiv to Poznan Zoo, as they wait at the Polish-Ukrainian border crossing Korczowa - Krakovets, Poland March 2, 2022.
Eighty animals were evacuated from an unnamed sanctuary near Kyiv to the Poznan Zoo.
Poznan Zoo via REUTERS

“They had to turn back many times because all the roads were blown up, full of holes, impossible to pass with such cargo, which is why it took so long,” said Poznan Zoo spokeswoman Malgorzata Chodyla, whose four-legged refugees included 17 -year-old female tiger and cubs.

“But here they are, and we just can’t believe it.”

The convoy’s first attempt to make the journey failed when its path was blocked by Russian tanks, Chodyla said.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has led to more than 1 million refugees.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to more than 1 million refugees.

Meanwhile, Kyiv’s mayor Vitalii Klitschko announced the birth of a lemur at the zoo Friday, according to the Kyiv Independent. The adorable primate was named “Bayraktar” — after military drones hailed as Ukraine’s secret weapon in defending its airspace against the Russian invasion.


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