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Zoo that survived Russian occupation destroyed by Kakhovka flooding; all animals dead

300 animals were killed in the floodwaters from the Nova Kakhovka dam. Photo by the Fairytale Forest Zoo
Zoo that survived Russian occupation destroyed by Kakhovka flooding; all animals dead

Fairytale Forest, a private zoo in the south-Ukrainian city of Nova Kakhovka, has been destroyed by floodwaters that rushed out of the Kakhovka reservoir after Russian troops destroyed the dam of the Kakhovka hydropower plant.

The zoo workers, with the help of farmers and volunteers, went to great lengths to keep the animals alive during a winter without heat and power under Russian occupation. They have now been killed; 300 animals perished in the floodwaters, the zoo informed on Facebook.

300 animals died in the floodwaters of the Kakhovka dam, blown up by Russian occupiers in the night of 6 June

“Monkeys Anfisa and Charlik, pony Malysh, donkey Osya, raccoons Mishka, Lilya, Dinka, Jaco parrot Venya, raven Roma, marmots, Cameroon goats, sheep, parrots, guinea pigs, frettas and many other little animals. Only a couple of swans and ducks escaped. A little swan chick born only five days ago also died.

Fairytale Forest was a favorite place for family visits

At 6 am, when Forest workers arrived, everything was flooded with water. We tried to save the animals for a whole year. The animals were blocked in the park. The park was mined, all the roads were blocked, and it was impossible to evacuate the animals. A year ago, we all raised funds together to buy feed for a year. Farmers and entrepreneurs helped, and many people brought vegetables and sent money to help the animals.

Dibrova survived a terrible winter without electricity and heating. Valentyna took all the warmth-loving animals (more than 60) to her home. All the animals survived until spring and then returned to Dibrova,” the zoo described its ordeal.

The Fairytale Forest zoo has been under occupation since the first day of Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022. The occupiers shelled the park, set up a checkpoint, and interrogated the zoo staff.

The occupiers forbade the zoo keepers to be present in the zoo, so the workers came only in the morning to feed the animals.

After the explosion at the Kakhovka dam at around 2 AM on 6 June, no one could let the animals out of their enclosures.

The zoo thanked all people of goodwill who helped keep the animals alive during all this time.

“Every day, two workers of Dibrova went to the zoo under shelling, risking their lives, to feed and care for the animals. We bow low to Valentyna and Vova! We did our best to save the animals’ lives, even in such a terrible situation. And today, Fairytale forest, a favorite vacation spot for residents and guests of Nova Kakhovka, was destroyed by the occupiers,” the zoo wrote.

“This is a terrible grief, a terrible pain. I am grateful to everyone who responded to our pleas. But we no longer need help. May Fairytale Forest remain in our memory as a fairy-tale corner of our hometown,” the zoo added.

The zoo was opened in 1992 on the territory of the Faldzynskyi Park by private entrepreneur Navrotskyi, who organized a family recreation center, opened a mini-zoo, and decorated the place with his own carvings – 150 wooden sculptures of fairy-tale characters. Some of these sculptures formed the Glade of Fairy Tales, which occupied 0.9 hectares of land.

The zoo was home to animals and birds representing different parts of both Ukraine and the world: pheasants, turtles, ostriches, owls, wild geese, mouflons, peacocks, roes, nutria, squirrels, etc. The landscape architecture of the Fairytale Forest took into account the peculiarities of the local terrain and the presence of natural springs and included a lake, ponds, fountains, waterfalls, a flower garden, green spaces, pavilions, benches, and bridges.


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