Kyiv Zoo workers living on site to protect 4,000 animals from Putin’s Ukraine invasion

Keepers are caring for the animals during the day and hiding in Zoo shelters at night

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Workers at Kyiv Zoo are doing everything they can in an attempt to protect their animals from Vladimir Putin’s ongoing attack of Ukraine.

The zoo is home to approximately 4,000 animals, including lions, tigers, elephants and gorillas.

During the day, keepers take care of the animals, feeding them and making sure they feel as safe as possible as Russian missiles rain down across the capital.

Workers hide in zoo shelters overnight, with the hope that the facility will not be affected or hit by the ongoing air strikes.

The zoo’s director, Kirill Trentin, who describes his team as the “zoo military commune”, explained what extra jobs he and his colleagues are doing to make sure their animals are protected.

Kyiv Zoo is home to approximately 4,000 animals
Kyiv Zoo is home to approximately 4,000 animals

He said: “We live here for eight days, all day we are working with animals, and at night we are hiding at shelters because there are attacks. There was a fight right near the zoo. Shells fly. And we should control that animals won’t leave if something happens in the zoo.

“We have 200 species and nearly 4000 animals. Small and big. Forty workers - veterinary specialists, keepers, electricians, plumbers. Some of the workers take their families with them - it is approximately 20-30 more people. There is a sort of a zoo military commune for now.

“I think four days ago, there was a huge fight near the zoo. And there was an attempt to occupy the military unit. Tracer ammunition was flying all over the zoo.

"It was very unusual to watch, listen and be here. It’s stressful for animals. And in the morning after we have to look if anybody was hurt. But there were no obvious signs of hurting, and no one died. But birds were hurting themselves while hitting on cages.”

The Russian invasion continues, but its planned capture of Kyiv is taking much longer than expected as Ukrainians continue to fight to retain the capital.

A 40-mile Russian convoy has been spotted on the outskirts of Kyiv in recent days, with Putin not giving up his assault yet.

Elsewhere, the largest nuclear power station in Europe, Zaporizhzhia, was damaged by Russian missiles on Thursday night.

Six reactors caught fire after it was attacked.

Downing Street called the situation in Zaporizhzhia “gravely concerning”, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fearing that an explosion of the plant could cause “the end for everyone. The end for Europe. The evacuation of Europe”.

He added: “Only urgent action by Europe can stop the Russian troops. Do not allow the death of Europe from a catastrophe at a nuclear power station.”