It doesn’t take a genius to understand that whenever wild animals are taken from their natural environments they become dependent on human beings for their survival.

Ultimately many wild animals end up in zoos and ‘wildlife’ parks.

The fact is whenever human beings place complex, intelligent and endangered wild animals in captivity not only is it cruel, it also leaves them at the mercy of external crises like economic downturns, pandemics, and/or war.

As a result these animals are often the forgotten victims of human conflicts and wars.

War in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine is heart-breaking – like you RiP is devastated by the humanitarian tragedy unfolding there with countless innocent lives being lost every day. let us not forget the 4 million+ people who have now had to flee the country.

We are also deeply disturbed by the immense suffering this is causing for animals.

In particular, the poor animals in Ukraine zoos that have found themselves trapped in the middle of this terrifying conflict through no fault of their own.

This horrifying war has led to the prospect of some zoos stating that they will have to euthanise many of their animals, which has led to a despairing outcry across the world, and rightly so.

Zoo Animals – Trapped by Design

Wild animals are either taken from their natural habitats or bred in an environment that’s not their natural habitat. They are then forced into enclosures from which they can’t escape.

All this cruelty is for the benefit of fee paying visitors.

Ultimately this leads to tragedy when their enclosures are no longer in a safe place and/or the income dries up – as we are seeing today in the Ukraine.

The Geneva Conventions highlight humanitarian rights during times of war, yet the rights of animals aren’t considered. Places such as zoos and wildlife parks, set up for entertainment purposes, often become battlegrounds in wartime conflicts.

Because the animals are captive they are unable to flee from the danger…and are subject to regular attacks. We strongly believe that both civilians and animals deserve protection.

As a result of these attacks, many animals have been killed, and many zoo enclosures have been partly destroyed. The loud noises and sights of war also lead animals to become traumatised and stressed.

This has been seen at the Kyiv Zoo in Ukraine, where animals are being given sedatives, and in some cases, moved underground where their keepers stay with them for comfort.

Helping Animals In War – The Risks

With a war going on providing animal aid is both complex and dangerous to provide.

Firstly, there are supply issues and shortages of food and medicines in war-struck regions. Carnivores in particular such as big cats, need huge amounts of meat which is not only expensive, but difficult to obtain. 

Secondly, reaching the premises can be logistically challenging. Above all, it’s extremely dangerous, and made worse by the fact that safe corridors have not been guaranteed.

Loading already stressed animals into crates to be transported through these chaotic conflict zones can cause severe illness or even death to the animals, not to mention the threat of the convoy being hit by military strikes.

There are also specialist transport needs, such as mobile cages to consider.

Currently zoos in the Ukraine are directly in the firing lines and are being subjected to shelling. Sending animal aid people in to provide supplies and/or rescue these zoo animals is putting peoples lives at risk too.

Thirdly, because these zoos are responsible for hundreds of animals finding safe places for so many animals is a huge challenge. For example, Mykolaiv Zoo alone has 4,000 wild animals, from 200 over different species.

These are just a small handful of factors to consider and are by no means an exhaustive list.

COVID: Closing Zoos as Animals Die

This situation isn’t just challenging for animals during times of war. We have seen a similar situations develop with the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, when Thailand was hit hard by the C19 crisis international tourism dried up. Many of the countries attractions were left empty. As thousands of staff were laid off tourism camps housing captive elephants were shut down.

The country’s 2,000-plus captive elephant population was left in a precarious situation with owners struggling to provide them with the basics such as food and medical care.

In Thailand, the international World Animal Protection agency was able to step in and help. They provided emergency help for numerous elephants in their time of need.

And let us never forget the horror story that is SeaWorld.

Watch the documentary –> BLACKFISH.

And Finally

We are all hoping for the best possible outcome for all the wild animals currently being held in zoos and aquariums across the world.

Whilst the war in Ukraine is an extremely sad situation it serves as another reminder that wild animals should be protected and kept in the wild.

It is RiP’s strong belief that the phasing out of keeping wild animals in captivity for commercial exploitation will prevent such tragic situations arising in the future.

Ukraine illustrates the peril and tragedy we cause to wild animals when placing them in captivity and thus leaving them vulnerable to human-caused disasters and wars.

Wild animals – belong in the wild.

It is vital that we create a future where wild animals are living a wild life, thriving in their natural habitat, and not subject to a life in captivity. (AKA – kept in concentration camps.)

Find out more about how to help Ukraine’s animals.

We thank you for reading this article and hope you’ll share it with friends and family.

We leave you now with a tune from Midnight Oil – Beds are Burning.

Peace and tranquility.

Author: Michael W

Special thanks to…

World Animal Protection