As Russian troops approach Kiev every day, the city's zoo, which has a vast basement to become a large aquarium, serves as a refuge for about 30 people.
As the Russians approach Kiev every day, the Ukrainian capital has emptied most of its inhabitants. Only those who found safe shelter remained. This is the case of the Kiev Zoo team, the largest zoo in Ukraine with 200 different species, 4,000 animals. In these times of war, the zoo became a refuge for men.
The owner is Kyrylo Trantin, the zoo's director. "Here it is the basement of the central building," he describes. In the future it will be our aquarium but right now it is the safest place in the zoo. In the evening, everyone goes down here to sleep. There are women, children... A total of 30 people sleep here every night. "
Animals Also Affected by War
In the zoo's driveways, we meet Ruslan, a caretaker, and his three-year-old daughter. Like many employees, Ruslan moved here with his entire family. "We are here because there is a shelter," he said. With us there are none. Here we can hide when necessary and we are in the open air, there are animals. This is good for children. And as we stay here, we can also take care of animals. It's a full-time job, 24 hours on 24, 7 days on 7. "
Indeed, there is work for Ruslan and his colleagues. Some animals, for example, do not bear the noise of sirens and bombings. This is the case with the zoo elephant. "He is very sensitive to everything that comes out of the ordinary," says the director. So we have to give him calmness. " The elephant remains in its winter enclosure, isolated from noise from the outside, confined like most animals here. "The zebras have not come out for ten days, the context is too stressful for them. During the first bombings, they began to run in every direction. And they can get hurt at that time, so we prefer to leave them safe, "explains the director. As for the lions, they hardly come out anymore. They even have their own basement in the event of an alert.