kyiv zoo beasts face starvation as desperate staff hunt yogurt for Tony the gorilla
Ukraine’s precious zoo animals are in danger of starvation amid Mad Vlad’s cowardly bombardment.
The defiant carers who lived full-time with the traumatized beasts at Kyiv Zoo are now dangerously short of food for its 4,000 beasts of 200 species.
They also burned medication and antidepressants to try to keep the animals calm as nearby bombs rocked their enclosures.
Desperate, zoo director Kyrylo Trantin said: “Before the war, we stored two weeks’ worth of food for the animals.
“We are now in the second week of the war and today we went to our warehouse and brought out three tons of food. It will last another week.
” We’ll see after.
“I already have people running around town looking for fresh produce in supermarkets. Sometimes they pay for it with their own money.
“We have to stock up on fruit and vegetables and we have started making our own yoghurt for our gorilla, Tony.
“Carnivores get more chicken than they would get in peacetime. Normally it would be beef. Did you know that giraffes like onions? »
A basement to be converted into an aquarium is used as a bomb shelter for zoo staff and their families.
Around 50 workers, including veterinarians, engineers and caretakers, as well as 30 family members are now 24/7 residents of the zoo.
Mr Trantin said: “My mother, who is elderly, my dog and my cat have all moved into my office here.
“Happy animals mean a good zoo and a happy city.”
Among the anxious beasts is Juto the giraffe.
He left his beloved red apples after shock waves from an artillery bombardment a few miles away rocked the home he shares with fellow giraffe, Jumbo.
Zoo Asiatic lions Hercules, Christina, Dana and Lilia have also been reduced from majestic beasts to jittery bags of nerves by the sounds of war.
Horace, the 17-year-old Asian elephant, can no longer be allowed into his outdoor enclosure because he is so stressed from the missile strikes.
Elephant specialist Mr Trantin added: “We had to sedate him to help him cope.
“Members of my staff also sleep in a room adjacent to his to keep him company.”
There were talks of moving Tony the traumatized western gorilla to Germany, but at 47 he is too old to change.
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Mr Trantin said of the Kyivans’ beloved zoo: ‘The problem is that he likes to see new people every day, but that’s not possible now that the zoo is closed to visitors.
“So now we make him watch TV for two hours a day so he can see human faces.
“It’s not the same, of course, but it’s the best we can do for him under the circumstances.
“He’s a symbol of the city, and heroes don’t run.”