Category Archives: Wildlife

Ukraine animal welfare activists appeal to MEPs

“Appeal of Ukraine animal welfare activists to
the Members of the Inter group for animal welfare of the European Parliament
February 14, 2019
 
Animal welfare and animal rights activists of Ukraine and compassionate citizens thank you for your support in saving wild animals from Igor Padalko zoo in Pokrovsk, Ukraine – the worst zoo of Europe.
We express special gratitude to Stefan Eck who reacted first to the problem of animal suffering and stretched his hand, we thank the chair Sirpa Pietikäinen, who took emergency measures to save dying animals, Anja Hazekamp, ​​who provided an opportunity to raise our concerns at the meeting of the Inter group, John Flack, who was ready to go to Pokrovsk immediately, and his colleague Rupert Matthews, who took the sufferings of the animals close to his heart. We highly appreciate the support that you provided by responding to our petition asking for help, signed by more than 30 thousand citizens of Ukraine.
We felt your support and, apparently, the officials of the Ministry of Ecology, too, because after five years of the failed attempts, things started to move. Unfortunately, we have to admit that it would be irrelevant to talk about success, because the situation with a handful of animals saved from Pokrovsk zoo has not been legally or practically resolved yet.
 
The evacuation of animals at the end of December last year was canceled by the Ministry of Ecology, and around hundred zoo animals disappeared without a trace, including primates, wolves, foxes, raccoons, donkeys, llamas, a camel and rare birds. The old blind lion and two bears vanished, a young lion was starved to death From hunger the bears tore off their fur to eat it, it was a hideousness abuse. To date, 11 bears and five lions have been evacuated. The fate of other animals is unknown.
According to local residents, during five years, hundreds of animals died and went missing in the Padalko Zoo. On the territory of the zoo there are still exhausted horses and dogs on chain, who do not even have bowls, they just  lick snow replacing water and food.

 
The sad epilogue of the Pokrovsk zoo story is that  laws to protect animals can’t be implemented, and officials do not regard animal welfare as a serious matter, making efforts not to save animals, but to hush up the scandal. Veterinary examinations and transportation of animals of Pokrovsk were paid from donations of citizens of Ukraine, the Ministry of Ecology did not allocate a penny to the evacuation of the animals of Pokrovsk.
The evacuated animals are not microchipped, relevant documentation is missing.
Alas, according to the Deputy Minister of Ecology, Mr. Vasil Poluiko, there are 60 zoo in our country, similar to the Padalko’s concentration camp, subsequently the problem of keeping wild animals in captivity requires systemic resolution.
 
As you know, the majority of Ukrainian citizens choose the European path, so striving for European values ​​is a sincere choice of people who do not want cruelty, they advocate for the emancipation of society, sharing humane views on harmonious coexistence with the other earthlings: domestic and wild animals.
 
In the absence of functional institutions and effective mechanisms for the protection of animals in our country, we consider the participation of MEPs in promoting the best European practices as a unique opportunity to reform our society in a meaningful way, bringing it closer to the European Union.
That is why we hope for your support of the civil society of Ukraine, which is committed to reforms, in particular, with regard to the welfare of animals, and their protection from cruelty.
We hope that Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty will be a subject of the EU Enlargement policy in negotiations with our government, which promises European way for our country.
We also hope that we will have the opportunity to personally meet with you and highlight the full range of problems faced by animal welfare movement of Ukraine. We are convinced of the importance of our cause for the emancipation and progress of society.

The story of Padalko zoo confirms: a human does not have two hearts, the animal abuser Igor Padalko was arrested accused of child abuse. The tragedy could have been avoided if five years ago the authorities had listened to the Pokrovsky animal welfare activists.

Animal protection is the protection of humanism. We hope that you can explain that to your counterparts in Verhovna Rada. They will not ignore your opinion as they ignore ours.”

The petition  to the European Parliament asking MEPs to save Pokrovsk zoo animals was singed by more than 30 thousand people. Please find further information on problems of Wildlife in Ukraine in groups #SaveUkraineBears #МишкиПокровск #LionDonetsk

 

 

MEPs call Rada Dyriv to save Pokrovsk zoo animlas

The ongoing Padalko zoo (Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine) horrendous animal abuse continues to cause sharp criticism of the whole spectrum of the European political forces. The Members of the European Parliament joined an initiative of John Flack (UK, ECR) addressing an open letter to Anotolii DyrivFirst Deputy Chair of Committee on Environmental Policy of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

padalko zoo cages

The Members of the European Parliament have called the Ukrainian Parliament Rada to act without delay to save the animals.

We in The European Parliament, and  I know that also my political colleagues in the United Kingdom wish to encourage Ukraine to forge closer links with the Western family of nations” John Flack MEP (UK, ECR) wrote.

“We in the west take the humane treatment of animals very seriously and would urge all in the Ukraine to follow best practice. It is not only the right thing to do but will encourage future
investment” he underlined.

 MEP (UK, ECR), who initiated the letter, regrets he can not leave for Porkovsk immediately, to accept the invitation of the animal welfare groups in Ukraine, but out of his own convictions and the wish of his electorate to monitor the situation closely, he is considering a trip to Ukraine in the nearest future to see how the situation with Padalko zoo abused animals has been resolved, and what are the conditions of the other animals in private, and public zoos.

Mr.Flack urges Mr.Dyriv and the Rada committee he chairs to use the “considerable influence to protect the vulnerable and abused animals”.

In relation to Pokrovsk zoo MEPs call Mr.Dyriv to “arrange for unrestricted access by qualified veterinarians to all animals”. But not only, due to the scale and gravity of abuse and cruelty, MEPs call for “police to investigate the fate of missing Lions and Bears”, that were listed on the zoos inventory at the beginning of November 2018 but are now missing without explanation.

“If crimes have been committed then their should be prosecutions, both to punish the perpetrators but also to encourage correct behaviour in others” the open letter continues.
There is also a request to arrange for permission to be granted for International and Ukrainian animal welfare charities to
“both visit and then to monitor the conditions at all Ukrainian zoos”.

European politicians ask Mr.Dyriv to consider  “urgently”  whether Pokrovsk zoo is a “fit and proper place” to keep animals and whether it would be in “national interest” the Padalko zoo to be closed forthwith and the animals transferred to other reputable facilities.

“With elections due shortly in Ukraine I am sure that many of your people will be closely watching the fate of these defenceless animals.
I and my colleagues would welcome the opportunity to visit you in the Ukraine and to see for ourselves the improvements you are able to bring about” the letter concludes.

The open letter was initiated (23.01.2019) and singed by the Member of the European Parliament  (MEP) John Flack MEP, who is the Vice President European Parliament Animal Welfare Intergroup, and British Conservative Spokesman for Regional Development; and Rupert Matthews MEP,  Member for the East Midlands (U.K),  at present the letter circulates in the Europarliament, collecting signatures of the politicians. 

The scandal broke out when the pictures of the animal abuse hit social media, provoking a wave of indignation in Europe, and across the globe, launching a international campaign to save Porkovsk zoo animals from Padalko zoo.

MEPs Stefan Eck, Sirpa Petiekainen, Anja Hazekamp, and legendary Brigitte Bardot have already addressed the issue, calling President Petro Porkoshenko, and Minister of Ecology Ostap Semerak to save the Porkovsk  zoo animals from abuse, however in vain so far. One more lion died from hunger after the transportation to another private zoo with an ambivalent reputation, and a number of animals have vanished without trace.

All the proposals of charities to transfer animals to sanctuaries were rejected by the owner of the zoo Igor Padalko, who is hoping to recover the animals after his zoo is rebuilt from public funds.

There are around 100 animals in private zoo in Pokrovsk, owned by Mr.Padalko, who denies veterinarians and activists the access to the dying animals. A few of them have been transported to another private zoo. Mr.Padalko is supported by the Mayor of Porkovsk Ruslan Trebushkin, and the governor of the Donetsk region Olexander Kutz.

The Ukrainian activists called for a demonstration in Kiev on the 24 of January opposite the Ministry of Ecology to protest against the animal abuse, and inaction of the Minister of Ecology Ostap Semerak, the petition for demanding his resignation has been circulation online, collecting the first hours two thousand signatures.

Ukrainian minister plagued by lions abuse scandal

Ukrainian animal welfare and animal rights groups demand the resignation of the Minister of Ecology and Natural resources Ostap Semerak (pictured), after the international scandal broke out regarding the horrendous systemic abuse of wild animals in a private Zoo in Pokrovsk. The minister did not respond to an ongoing international campaign for liberation of the lions and bears from torture conditions in Igor Padalko private zoo, in Donetsk region. After three month of relentless efforts, more than 600 hundred complains from the Ukrainian citizens, the requests of renown international wildlife charities, Members of the European Parliament, and stars,  Mr.Semerak did not do anything to save the animals from the horrendous abuse, and ensure an adequate veterinary care.

The animal rights groups were indignant to discover that the lions jammed into rusty self-made cages, freezing to their own urine and feces, were fed by grain, and well as all the other animals in the zoo, disrespectful to their natural needs.

Mr.Semerak broke his promise to the citizens, and did not order the evacuation of the abused, exhausted animals to specialized sanctuaries, and rehabilitation centers, while they were ready to receive the lions and bears, and even organize the transport themselves.

Till present one more lion died, while denied treatment in a veterinary clinic, one more lion from Padalko zoo vanished, as some others, including two bears, who were sitting in cages without a possibility to stretch themselves.

Ukraine does not need the Minister of Nature, indifferent to it, tarnishing the image of Ukraine abroad, unresponsive to citizens, and disrespectful to European values, the activists say in a petition launched online, collecting signatures for resignation of Ostap Semerak.

The Minister does not comment or react to the appeals of the animal rights groups, deleting all the requests and comments on the Ministry sites. “It is useless to write to him, because he is useless. He does not want to serve Ukrainian people, he simply does not care. Semerak should resign!” activists write in Twitter micro blog.

Apparently the Minister has forgotten that his major task is to ‘serve the people of Ukraine’, as a an executive should in a democratic country.

The manifestation for saving the animals of Porkovsk, who are between life and death, will take place in Kiev next to the Ministry  of Ecology on 24th of January at 10:30-15:00.

save pokrovsk animals

 

 

 

MEPs concerned with Ukrainian zoo cruelty

The January hearing of the Intergroup on the Welfare and the Conservation of Animals in Strasbourg chaired by Anja Hazekamp (NL, GUE/NGL)  opened the floor with the discussion of the devastating situation of lions, and bears in Porkovsk private zoo of Igor Padalko (Ukraine, Donetsk region).

The issue of Porkovsk zoo came to attention of the MEPs due to a Petition launched by Ukrainian animal welfare activists, who said they are not heard by their own government in Kiev, asking the European Parliament to take action to save animals from an ongoing horrendous abuse in Padalko private zoo. In a few days the Petition gathered 25 thousand signatures, and continues to circulate. The activists requested to freeze the EU micro-financial aid to Ukrainian government until the European values are respected, namely the Article 13 of Lisbon Treaty, stating that animal welfare is “European value“, and animals are “sentient beings.”

It has been years that Ukrainian activists have been struggling for liberation from a horrendous abuse of six lions, 11 bears and around 100 of other animals in Pokrovsk zoo , suffering in tiny filthy self-made cages, unable even to stretch their paws, stamping in their own feces, not removed for weeks.

MEPs present at the hearing were appalled by the cruelty to the wild animals, but also concerned by the inaction of the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology, and the other relevant instances, who did not assume their responsibility.

padalko lion abuse

They also reminded that Stefan Eck, the vice-president of the group, has already called (5.12.2018) President Poroshenko to act in line with the European norms and save Padalko animals from abuse. So far the call remained unanswered, and Ukrainian activists informed about death of the second exhausted lion frozen alive in his urine in his cage (- 11C°). Soon after his death the corpse vanished.

Concluding the discussion the MEP sent a a letter from Intergroup to the  Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, seeking his support, and reminding that the EU and Ukraine regularly reaffirm their strong partnership based on their association agreement and pledge to strengthen the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the EU. As part of Ukraine’s ambitious reform agenda which is financially supported by the EU, “it would be desirable that also the respect of animal welfare concerns would be taken into account“.

The Intergroup has also written a letter to the Ukranian Minister for Ecology Ostap Semerak, asking him to take an immediate action to rescue and re-home the animals of Padalko zoo:  “…We call on you as the Ukrainian Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources to intervene as a matter of urgency in order to rescue and re-home the animals from this zoo. Be assured that any action you will take in this regard can be supported by NGOs who can offer help for re-homing the animals”.

The local animal welfare activists claim Igor Padalko kept animals in the abominable conditions for years with a purpose to collect money all over Ukraine via social networks: for “food for lions“, and for “cages construction“. Nobody saw any improvements for animals, however the Padalkos acquired for their son a comfortable apartment in Kiev.

The other lucrative activity was in receiving bus excursions of schoolchildren from the region, supposedly to learn about wild nature. Many teachers complained that children were crying, while looking at suffering on animals jammed in small filthy cages.

Although cruel and abusive towards animals, who had bruises and broken jaws from beatings with rods, unable even to stand up from hunger and exhaustion,  Padalko has been continuously accumulating social capital in local community – offering Ukrainian military from the front line the beautiful beach on river-side, and tea-houses for recreation on his 25-hectare territory; organising from time to time free dinners for elderly locals; and even adopting children. The remarkable social skills helped to establish connections, and even patronage, making all the attempts of the animal rights groups to liberate the lions and bears from the torture conditions ineffective.

Reportedly the adopted children were taken away from Padalko, presumably after numerous complains about his cruelty, the question remains, how such a character received the orphans in first place. Lately Padalko threatened to shoot activists, if they dare to enter the zoo. Local police asked to avoid any contacts with him, but also refused any complains of animal abuse. In spite of numerous frauds, and abuses, thanks to his connections Padalko stays “untouchable“.

Animal rights groups presume that Padalko counts on sympathy of the governor of the Donetsk region Oleksander Kuz, who send his employers to Kiev to hash up the scandal, and demand subsidies for the zoo renovation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russian owner released lion cub in streets

According to the ‘Petersburg Diary‘ ( «Петербургский дневник») online residents of a residential complex located along one of the cities avenues, noticed a lion cub on the street, who was frozen (-5C°) and placed himself  sunder a car to keep warm. It turned out that the animal belongs to a man living in a house near the place where the little inhabitant of savanna was found by shocked pedestrians.

The owner of the lion cub said that sometimes he walks with the lion cub, but sometimes he releases him into streets alone, he plans to sell the cub in the nearest future, because he is “growing very fast”. The owner was not punished for cruelty, and the animal was returned to him as if nothing wrong happened.

Although Russia signed to CITES the black market of wild animals flourishes. Lion cubs are in high demand for photo shooting at parties, and events. There are companies renting lion or tiger cubs for an evening for a photo session for weddings, or fashion presentation.

lion cub bride

However they grow quickly, and owners are willing to get rid of them, selling to private zoos, where the stay in misery locked in cages until the end of their days. Some of them are sold to circuses to be trained by electroshock collar to jump through the fire ring. The Stone age entertainment, subsidized by the Ministry of Culture.

padalko lion update

 

 

Berlin polar bear cub to enter stage soon

Germany‘s oldest zoo, which maintains to the world’s largest variety of species in captivity, welcomed an adorable polar bear cub, which is expected to bring a commercial success, and restore the flow of visitors after loss of Knut ( 5.12. 2006 – 19.03 2011) bear celebrity (pictured).

Polar bear mother Tonja gave birth to her cub on December 1. The cub has finally opened its eyes and spends most of the day sleeping, cuddling and drinking.

Tonja and her cub will not leave their enclosure until the spring when they will be seen in public.

This is a cause for celebration for the Berlin Zoo, where the pair live, since its famous polar bear Knut drowned in 2011. Scientists say they can now explain what happened to Knut, A new investigation has shown that he had a type of autoimmune inflammation of the brain that is also recognised in humans.

Knut became an international celebrity, after being abandoned by his mother and then hand-raised by a zookeeper.

For a while, he was the most recognisable bear on the planet, with his face featuring regularly on TV and in newspapers, and even on the front cover of an edition of Vanity Fair magazine. He brought millions of visitors to Berlin zoo, and became a public magnet generating revenues. His sudden, inexplicable death became a blow to the zoo management, apparently they hope to start the commercial exploitation of a newly born cub in spring 2019.

 

Ukraine: freezing zoo lion in critical condition

One of the abused lions in Padalko private zoo, Porkovsk, Ukraine, is in critical condition, the local animal rights groups reported. In spite of a strong international response the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology did not react to save the abused animals from filthy conditions, and freezing winter temperatures. The inspectors confirmed the situation in the zoo does not meet a required standard, all animals are exhausted, and many of them are ill. The fences also do not meet the lowest security requirements, causing threat to public safety.

However the owner of the zoo Igor Padalko refuses co-operation with international charities, and does not allow local activists access to animals, although they reiterate their readiness to feed the animals, and also help to isolate the cages with straw, to help lions and bears to survive freezing temperatures without any shelter.

These animals continue to suffer and the government does nothing. The investigator in the case was changed so that this case can be drawn out for as long as possible. This creature “PADALKO” owner of this horror zoo is protected by someone” writes Lionel de Lange, from Lawrence Anthony Earth (LAEO) wildlife charity on his Facebook page. South African, Mr. de Lange came to save the lions from Padalko zoo horrid conditions, and evacuate them to SA sanctuary. He has previously successfully saved lions from of squalid conditions of Ukrainians circuses, transferring them to SA, to their natural wildlife park. But this time unexpectedly his plans were interrupted.

Reportedly all the evacuations of the animals was cancelled due to interference of the Donetsk governor, Alexander Kuz, who  is interested to receive solid state funds to reconstruct the zoo to offer it as an ‘entertainment’ for local children. The activists insist  that children in Donetsk region close to the front line (!), have other needs, and by no means the fading animals can stay any longer in degrading conditions.

However the question of confiscation of Padalko animals, and closure of the squalid camp, is more than about the respect of the wildlife. It is about the intention of President Poroshenko to reform Ukraine, and align the country with the European Union  (EU) norms.

The legendary Brigitte Bardot, and Stefan Eck, vice-president of the European Parliament Animal welfare intergorup (114 members) launched an appeal to President Poroshenko to keep his promise, and respect the EU  Lisbon Treaty Article 13, stating that animal welfare is a “European value‘. But their appeal stayed without response – nothing happened, 5 lions, 11 bears and around 100 other animals are dying from cold and malnutrition in Donetsk steppe icy wind, while Ukrainian authorities are ignoring their suffering, and distress of all those across the world, who care.

The reference to the European values is not a theoretical exercise, the drama of Padalko animals happens amid the reception of one billion euro of macro-financial assistance to Ukrainian government to ensure the implementation of reforms, lifting the country to European norms, and standards, also in the field of justice and public administration.

With Vice-President of the European Commission discussed the progress of reforms, the possibility of completing the current program of macro-financial assistance and providing Ukraine with a second tranche of 500 million euro in early 2019” Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman wrote in his Twitter mico blog

The question is why the European citizens should agree to transfer the second tranche of EUR500, if  the Ukrainian government,  judiciary and civil servants do not show a slightest respect the European values?

 

 

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