Ukraine Zoo Animals Evacuated to Poland After Getting Surrounded by Russian Tanks

Ukraine zoo animals are being evacuated from the war-torn country and are on their way to be rescued at the Polish border.

Officials from Zoo Poznań, Poland, told Newsweek today (March 1) that workers are currently waiting at the Polish border for the animals—which are from the Save Wild animal sanctuary, near the capital city Kyiv—to arrive.

The Polish zoo said on Facebook it had "lost hope" of saving the animals after receiving the "tragic news" that the convoy had been surrounded by Russian tanks. The post can be seen here.

Traciliśmy już nadzieję... wczoraj ok godz 18 otrzymaliśmy tragiczne wieści, że transport zwierząt, na który czekamy na polskiej granicy, został...

Zoo workers spent the night "fearing the worst," but on March 1, it said "a miracle happened" and they received news that the drivers had made it past the occupation line.

A spokesperson from the Zoological Garden in Poznań said: "We are waiting on the Polish-Ukrainian border for the arrival of a transport of animals evacuated from the Save Wild Fund animal sanctuary near Kyiv ... We cannot enter the territory of Ukraine, we are waiting for the arrival of transport to the border."

A picture shared to Facebook by Ukraine animal welfare charity UAnimals showed a lion in a cage, ready to be evacuated from the wildlife sanctuary. The caption said: "Hopefully the road will be safe."

The charity said they hope the road will be safe for the animals

A 40-mile convoy of Russian troops is currently heading towards Kyiv. The city has seen extreme fighting in the recent days and many animal shelters and zoos are struggling to get the supplies they need.

Zoo Poznań is working with zoos and rescue partners in Ukraine to evacuate as many animals as possible. In a Facebook post, the Polish zoo said that as soon as it successfully completes the operation to evacuate animals from Kyiv, it will be turning to send supplies and help to a zoo in Lviv. The zoo has shared pictures of workers filling trucks with animal feed, ready to be transported to the border.

On Facebook, the Kyiv Zoo said military actions have caused stress for their animals but so far all their conditions are stable. "The zoo is closed to visitors, but the care of the animals does not stop," it said. "The war is causing terrible stress for the animals, so some of them have been moved to indoor enclosures and underground galleries. Veterinarians monitor their emotional state and, if necessary, provide a sedative."

The zoo said on February 27 that loud explosions were heard throughout the night but fortunately, there have been no direct hits. The zoo houses the only gorilla in Ukraine, who is being provided with lots of contact from zoo keepers as he was starting to miss the visitors.

At the moment, the zoo said it is provided with "everything necessary" including electricity, water, heat and food.

Gorilla
Kyiv zoo houses the only gorilla in Ukraine, GENYA SAVILOV / Contributor/Getty Images