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Ukrainian Zoos and Shelters Need You—Here’s How to Help Animals Overseas

Zoos and shelters in Ukraine need our help to keep animals alive and well amidst the war with Russia. Here's how to make a difference.

Written by
Angelica Pizza

About 6.5 million people in Ukraine are displaced, and that number is rising, according to the International Organization of Migration. And almost 10 million people have been "forcibly displaced" in Ukraine and in neighboring countries. They're extremely vulnerable—and they're not the only ones who need your help.

According to a Facebook post from Volodymyr Topchyi, the director of the Mykolaiv Zoo in Ukraine, the zoo is operating in "wartime mode." In Topchyi's Facebook post, he says seven zoo employees are on the frontlines, and the zoo needs financial help. The zoo—also known as the Nikolaev Zoo—is asking people to purchase e-tickets to the zoo as a way to fundraise.

The Mykolaiv Zoo has been closed since February 25, but the animals are still housed there—and they need to be taken care of. According to the zoo's webpage, the zoo houses 211 rare species.

And the Mykolaiv Zoo isn't the only Ukrainian zoo that needs our help. Zoo animals living in the Kyiv Zoo are "exhibiting signs of stress" after being exposed to the sounds of air raid sirens and gunfire, according to The Washington Post. Plus, about 50 staff members have moved into the zoo, bringing their families along, in order to care for the animals.

In addition, household pets are being displaced. As refugees search for safety, they're bringing their beloved dogs, cats, and pet birds with them—and often, these animals are taken to animal shelters. Animal shelters are seeking funds and safe transportation to relocate animals out of Ukraine.

To operate, Ukrainian zoos need adequate food and water supply, and—of course—safe living conditions. Not just for the animals, but also for the staff members. And food and water are only available when the zoos are being funded. Some animal shelters specifically need medical supplies and funds to transport animals, according to CNN.

With the current wartime conditions, zoos and animal shelters aren't operating as they normally would. That's why other zoos across the globe are stepping up to the plate to help.

Fellow Zoos Offering a Helping Hand

The European Association for Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) has issued an emergency relief fund for Ukrainian zoos, coordinating collections from donors. 100% of all donations received go toward helping Ukrainian zoos.

According to an EAZA update from March 18, the EAZA is not relocating animals in high-risk zones, as per the direct requests of Ukrainian zoos. However, the EAZA is preparing to facilitate future requests for animal relocation, if the need arises.

Additionally, zoos in the U.K. and the U.S. have made sizable donations. The Paignton and Newquay zoos raised about $33,000 for three Ukrainian zoos, according to BBC News. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and Zoo Miami have each donated $10,000 to the EAZA's relief fund. Here's how you can help, too.

How You Can Help

1. Donate to the EAZA's Relief Fund

The EAZA has made the relief fund accessible to anyone who wants to offer a helping hand to the animals and zoo employees in Ukraine. To donate, check out the Emergency Appeal for Ukrainian Zoos located on the EAZA website. You can scan the QR code or use the payment link. Then, choose the amount you wish to donate and how you would like to pay.

Donations will be allocated on an as-need basis. The EAZA is in direct contact with the three Ukrainian zoos: The Mykolaiv ZooKharkiv Zoo, and Kyiv Zoo. It even has indirect contact with other nearby zoos through the Ukrainian Zoo Association.

2. Buy E-Tickets

As Topchyi from the Myikolayiv Zoo requested, people from all over the globe can purchase e-tickets to fund the zoo's operations. You can purchase tickets here. You can also find details on corresponding banks to make a Euro transfer on the zoo's website.

3. Donate to Ukrainian Relief Efforts

Millions of Ukrainian civilians are caught in the middle of turmoil. They're displaced and seeking refuge and aid. This means they need food, water, shelter, and potentially medical care and supplies. The main way you can help is by donating to relief efforts.

You can make donations to the UN's Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, the World Health Organization's Health Emergency Appeal, and the Global Giving Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund. You can also donate to the International Committee of the Red Cross's efforts to help Ukraine. There are also several other relief funds available online.

4. Donate to Animal Shelters and Charities

Don't forget about cats and dogs. Many household pets are also displaced, and animal shelters are doing everything they can to provide for them. That means providing food, water, and transportation to a safe haven. It also means an increase in the demand for medical supplies. Here's what you can do.

Donate to nonprofits and charities or directly to animal shelters. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is helping refugees and animals, and you can donate here. You can also make donations to UAnimals, an animal rights organization, and the Kyiv Animal Rescue Group.

If you're looking to donate directly to a shelter, check out Shelter Sirius, Ukraine's largest shelter for homeless animals. No matter the size of your donation, every cent of it counts and goes toward providing both people and animals with security.