Roman Pashkovskyi’s Portraits of Animals from the Zoo Rescued from the Occupation
There are checkpoints on the way to XII Months — the war is still very much in the air in the Kyiv region. Animals in the zoo still look shocked, too, often huddling themselves up into corners and against the walls, albeit showing no aggression. A zebra foal was even born here during the occupation. At the moment, XII Months, much like other zoos in Ukraine, is raising funds to feed animals because it hardly sees any visitors at all.
— The war derailed many of our plans for early March. We wanted to rebuild outdoor cages, which were falling apart from age, and plant some greenery, but now we also have to repair the fence damaged by the shelling. It might take a month just for me to tell you everything we need to do now. Only half of our staff are currently working — others have either left the country or joined the Territorial Defence Forces or the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Still, we hope to re-open in mid-May, even though we currently have no understanding of how the situation on the frontline may develop or whether we would have visitors at all.
All the animals are back now. Only primates were evacuated to Western Ukraine — they are the first to die in the cold weather if there is no gas and electricity. Also, a few monkeys killed themselves, banging their heads against the wall from stress.
We need specialized zoo food, e.g., milled tree branches for giraffes or even hay, which is unavailable in Ukraine now. We definitely could feed animals with regular food, but only partially. We are waiting for aid from foreign zoos — it’s them that we are counting on the most because the Ukrainians did what they could in the first days of the war, and many have lost their jobs. Still, all we have got is their assurance for now.