Humans are not the only 'collateral damage' of war. Staff and volunteers make heroic efforts during the Russian invasion to evacuate animals from Ecopark Zoo near Kharkiv, Ukraine that has been shelled repeatedly in the early months of 2022. Tragically human life was also lost in the process. During one rescue 15-year-old volunteer Denis Selevina was mortally wounded leading to a painfully poignant confrontation of war and innocence between his father and a captured Separatist soldier. The toll of random shelling on the vulnerable is profound. including nature and the environment.
‘When the war started, I got down on my knees and told the animals I’m sorry. They don’t understand,’ said Svetlana, Vice Director. Staff and volunteers make heroic efforts during the Russian invasion to evacuate animals from Ecopark Zoo that has been shelled repeatedly near Kharkiv, Ukraine in the early months of 2022.
At least five employees were killed, including two found shot to death at close range. Over 100 animals perished including some chimpanzees, orangutangs and kangaroos that died of heart failure. But they managed to save 5000.
During one rescue 15-year-old volunteer Denis Selevina was mortally wounded. His parents were caretakers and he helped them feed animals.
Two captured Russian soldiers were brought to the hospital by coincidence and distraught zoo staff screamed at them in anguish after learning of the boy’s death. One soldier was a Ukrainian Separatist fighting for Russia, adding a layer of betrayal to their profound sorrow. Vitaliii, father of the boy, took off the soldier’s blindfold to show his son’s blood still on his hands in a painfully poignant confrontation of war and innocence.