The war in Ukraine is also a disaster for fauna and flora

Four days after the explosion of the Nova Kakhovka hydroelectric dam, it is still difficult to measure the environmental damage caused by the disaster. The evacuations continue, very slowly, and at the heart of this drama, animals occupy a very special place. The Kherson region, affected by rising waters, is home to several nature parks, rich wildlife, and domestic animals, in towns and villages, are trapped in rising water. In the emergency, many inhabitants are not concerned about their property, but the fate of their animals.

Volunteers carry evacuated dogs from a flooded neighborhood in Kherson, Ukraine, Thursday, June 8, 2023. AP - LIBKOS

Text by: RFI Follow


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With our correspondent in Kiev, Stéphane Siohan

Oleksandr Todorchuk heads the NGO UAnimals, which he created at the beginning of the Russian invasion to save animals trapped in the fighting. On the morning of 6 February, he sent all his volunteers, no less than 12 teams, to the Kherson region.


When we arrived on the first day, the soldiers who accompanied us pointed us to a house inhabited by a lady with her dogs, he recalls. The soldiers wanted to evacuate her, but there was no room for five dogs, and she told them: I don't go anywhere without my dogs, and if that's how it is, I'll stay here.


Dogs, cats, cows and pigs, UAnimals takes everyone on board its Noah's arks, even zoo animals, big cats cared for by specialists and veterinarians.

Thank you for the support and your concern about the situation in Kherson!🙏
With your donations, we:
🔆 Evacuate animals and financially support other evacuation teams.
🔆 Help affected shelters, national parks, sanctuaries.
🔆 Provide affected animals with food
🔆 Cover vet...

— UAnimals.ENG 🇺🇦 (@UAnimalsENG) June 9, 2023

An ecological disaster


If we talk about pets, there are hundreds, Oleksandr Todorchuk continues, but if we talk about all animals, it is tens of thousands. The particularity of the Kherson region is that it is home to a very rich wildlife, now under Russian occupation, such as the Askania Nova Nature Park. As long as the water level does not go down, it is very difficult to know what to do.


With anonymous volunteers in the occupied territories, the NGO knows that the Russians are doing nothing to save animals, and the director of the NGO UAnimals does not mince his words to denounce the disaster caused by Russia: "This is an ecological disaster. To put it bluntly, it is ecocide, it is a crime against nature. However, an ecocide knows no borders, all ecosystems are interconnected, and here we are talking about the heritage of our children and grandchildren, on a global scale, and that concerns us all.


Nevertheless, thanks to the help of volunteers, in four days, thousands of animals were saved from the waters.

Mass fish death due to the critical decrease of water in Kakhovka's reservoir. #StopEcocideUkraine

— UAnimals.ENG 🇺🇦 (@UAnimalsENG) June 9, 2023

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  • Ukraine
  • Russia
  • Fauna
  • Flora