Simba lion, wolf safely rescued from war-torn Ukraine

RADAUTI, Romania (AP) – Simba lion and a wolf named Akila have been rescued from a zoo in war-torn Ukraine and an animal rights group involved in the operation says it was a four-day mission. Full of dangers” the border entry was further obstructed by the bureaucracy.

A fully awake adult male lion and gray wolf arrived at a zoo in Zaporizhzhya, southeast Ukraine, on Monday from a zoo in Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine, during a dangerous journey due to a lack of tranquilizers in Ukraine.

Now at a safe distance from the conflict and after spending four days in cages in the back of a van, the two animals were recovering from the journey in their new enclosure on Wednesday, resting in the shade and regaining their strength.

“If there’s anything in this war that’s the incredible collaboration between organizations, it’s one of the many people involved in planning the animal’s extraction,” said Sebastian Taralunga of the animal rights group Animals International.

“Everyone agreed that in peak times we would have to take extreme measures and we decided to do everything possible to get those animals out of the war.”

The evacuation of large animals was made possible due to the efforts and cooperation of several animal rights groups and private citizens, including two men from Britain, who voluntarily rescued the animals and prompted them to enter Ukraine for safety.

Roxana Ciorni, president of the Romania-based animal rights group Patrocal House, said, “I couldn’t find a driver to go and help from Romania, not even Ukraine, so these guys were absolutely brilliant – they risked their lives. ” , “But they got here safely.”

The long journey through conflict-ravaged Ukraine was far from simple, a mission fraught with the dangers of entering a war zone.

The van carrying the animals could not get permission by the authorities to cross through the Sirete border point in Romania. This left drivers twice to traverse the vast Carpathian Mountains – which are across the countries’ common border – adding about 1,000 kilometers (620 mi) to their journey from west to east.

“It was a central level decision that Romania and Ukraine would have only one border crossing for large animals,” said Gabriel Pon, EU director at Animals International.

“It was a team of people working in good faith to do everything possible to save those animals,” he said.

“It’s hard to get people out of Ukraine if they’re in very dangerous areas, but to get a lion and a wolf out… the mission was impossible. I was fifty-fifty whether those animals and those people would make it out alive .

Poun said he could not find a vet to help with his evacuation mission and that no tranquilizers were available, meaning the animals were “fully aware and awake” during their journey to safety.

“You can imagine what it means to drive in the back of your van with a lion and a wolf with cages that aren’t very stable and can open at any time,” said Taralunga from Animals International.

He said the Simba lion had suffered an injury during transport after hitting the cage, but veterinarians said it was not serious and would heal on its own.

The animals will now spend time in quarantine in their new enclosure and children and other visitors can see them in the zoo, after which they will eventually be transferred to the sanctuaries.

“My NGO runs a 300 dog shelter here, we have cows, we have horses, but I never thought in my life that I would come to rescue a lion and a wolf,” said Ciorny. “We gathered a lot of people and everyone did something together … and we were able to do that.”

“Ukraine has a good share in this war, that these animals will go on to have a better life.”


McGrath reported from Sighisoara, Romania.


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