The UA International Wild Animals Charity Foundation is dedicated to saving wild animals. Since the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it has been evacuating them from the front lines.
The UA International Wild Animals Charity Foundation is dedicated to saving wild animals. Since the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it has been evacuating them from the front lines, and to date, 600 wild animals have been saved. The Foundation has partnered with the Poznań (Poland) zoo. “I save wild animals to remain human. Especially with all the brutality and barbarism that the Russians brought to us,” Natalia Popova, founder of the foundation.
As Popowa emphasizes, the main goal of her activity is the temporary rehabilitation of wild animals.
We save them, provide the necessary help, feed them, treat them. And then we look for decent living conditions for them. We also deal with animals such as lions, tigers and bears that were born in captivity and cannot be released into the wild. When they are in good condition, we transfer them abroad to other centers – she says.
An example is the Poznań zoo, to which Popowa has already donated over 200 animals. Director (Ewa) Zgrabczyńska accepts from us all animals that have undergone rehabilitation, and then looks for them a permanent place to live – she explains. And he adds: I follow their fate, and then I am happy when I see how peacefully they live. At times like this, I understand why I'm doing it and why I'm risking my life. And that gives me strength.
Ukraine has been struggling for years with the problem of keeping wild animals by private individuals – in cramped cages and inappropriate conditions. From the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, when many people left Ukraine, the animals were left to their fate. “These animals were extremely unlucky because they had no chance to get out of the cage on their own” – says Popowa. He emphasizes that some of the animals were in danger of death, but miraculously they were saved almost at the last moment.
Mainly, it is the soldiers fighting on the frontline who find the animals that are later evacuated. Then our team of three goes and collects the animals from there. The army helps us with loading and also covers our return – the volunteer reports.
Once, the army called us to Bakhmut to save a bear. Everything around was destroyed. The condition of the bear was so bad that it could not stand on its paws. Fifteen soldiers helped me save him. We all risked our lives, but the most important thing for us was not to lose our humanity – she adds.
Popova is not a veterinarian by education. However, the war forced her to help wild animals like a doctor. Despite her lack of medical experience, she is sometimes forced to administer intravenous anesthesia to the animal.
As she claims, no vet will agree to go to the front. That's why he learns everything on a regular basis. The first time, I performed anesthesia over the phone with the doctor. I didn't even have a professional tube. It was only the Poznań zoo that gave it to me. Previously, I had a sewage pipe through which I administered an anesthetic – she says.
When asked why he still risks and saves wild animals, he replies that “Every Ukrainian should help the country in any way he can. I can help save animals. I save wild animals to stay human. Especially with all the brutality and barbarism with which the Russians came to us.”
You can support the foundation at https://linktr.ee/wildanimalsua