As the flood of war threatens to engulf the Ukraine, modern-day Noahs struggle to keep zoos afloat and feed starving animals. Now, an international conservation organization seeks to raise $45,000 for a Ukrainian zoo. Earlier this month, another zoo used social media and crowdfunding to acquire animal feed.
Funding for Ukrainian zoos plummeted as the regional conflict escalated, leaving local and global citizens to cover the animals' feeding bills. One campaign started on March 15, when a Facebook-fueled "flashmob" brought more than 10,000 visitors to the Nikolaev Zoo with gifts of vegetables, fruit, hay, nuts, honey and other products, reported the Ukraine Media Group.
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Now, the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization seeks $45,000 in donations to help 6,000 animals on the brink of starvation at the Nikolaev Zoo, according to the group's website. The organization hopes to avoid the tragedy that befell many of the animals of the Baghdad zoo in 2003.
During the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the zoo ran out of food and suffered looting. Lawrence Anthony, a South African conservationist, entered Baghdad eight days after the start of the war to acquire food for the animals. He found only 35 of the original 650 animals still alive, reported the Guardian.
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On March 6th, Kharkiv Zoo started a local fundraising campaign as starvation loomed over the zoo's animals, according to the zoo's Facebook page. Residents of Karkiv, Ukraine's second largest city, donated tons of food. By the 13th, a GoFundMe campaign raised more than $4,000 internationally for the zoo's animals.
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"The zoo has received a lot of responses,"Alexandra Fedorovna, zoo staff member, told travel blog 8 Month in Ukraine. "Businesses have promised to help, supermarkets have said that they'll provide past-the-best-buy-date food. We've received enough cash to cover the money we owed for past food purchases. We still welcome any help we can get. We'll still need to buy other foods (grains, hay, etc) for our animals."
Photo: A tiger in the Kharkov Zoo. Credit: Max1995, Wikimedia Commons