Thousands of people in Ukraine lined up to bring fresh food for the animals and money for the operation of the Kharkiv Zoo when its officials declared an emergency after government funds had dried up.
Two days after the announcement, the zoo announced that it had received 77,603 visitors over three days. From families to business people, friends of the zoo brought vegetables, fruit, bread and money – lots of it. $124,159 was earned through ticket sales and donations during that weekend.
“We sincerely thank everyone who helped the zoo during these difficult days,” said the zoo in a statement. “To our call of ‘Save the Kharkov Zoo!’ it seems like the entire city responded. This weekend our zoo saw huge lines for tickets, tons of food, and lots of positive emotions. Your help and support for our neighbors on planet Earth revealed the compassion, kindness, and love that will always be part of humanity.”
The zoo, which opened more than a century ago, also received support from caring people outside of Kharkov and the Ukraine. Moved by the plight of the elephant living there, Kate Woolf, the founder of the Lotus Elephant Sanctuary, set up an online fundraiser at GoFundMe for international supporters, and it raised $5,000 in five days. An expat American living in Kharkov first blogged about the problem, and later set up a Facebook page to spur donations and let people know what is happening. Get Katherine‘s updates at Facebook.com/KharkivZooFriends.
Watch the Zoo’s video below…
(Enable the translate feature on YouTube to hear the zoo’s words in language other than Russian)