Conflict In Crimea: Fifty Lions Face Starvation As Ukraine and Russia Battle

Crimean Lions

The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia over Crimea is also taking a toll on the animals in the region. In the latest such case, over 50 African lions held in captivity at the Taigan Safari park in Crimea are facing starvation and utter neglect – thanks to the crossfire between two countries. According to ABC News, the animals also include a breed of rare while lions. The cause of the deterioration in the condition of the lions is blamed on economic restrictions placed on Ukrainian accounts following the annexation of Crimea by Russia – following a controversial referendum.

The Reuters reports that the managers of the zoo in Crimea have been cut off from their Ukrainian bank accounts ever since Russia annexed the territory. This means that the employees of the zoo are unable to feed the lions or tend to their needs because the money needed to purchase food for the animals are no longer accessible. The Taigan Safari Park is located about 30 miles away from Simferopol, the capital of Crimea.

According to Oleg Zubkov, the director of the zoo, “The situation is very serious because, like all other companies, we stored our money in a Ukrainian bank.” He adds that currently, the park only has meat that would last for a few more days. “We will have to come up with something,” he adds. The lions kept at the Taigan Safari park in Crimea require about 500 kilograms of meat every day. Each lion requires between seven and ten kilograms of meat every day.

Apart from the Lions who are in immediate danger of starvation, the park also houses Tigers, Giraffes, miniature zebras, parrots, Australian ostriches, bald eagles, Himalayan bears, monkeys and kangaroos, the ABC report adds.

Zubkov is also the founder of the park. He is an Ukrainian entrepreneur with a military background who opened the park in 2012 at a former Cold war era military base in Crimea. The park span an area of 90 acres. “It is impossible to explain to tigers that they have become victims of somebody’s political ambitions or a revolution,” Zubkov says.

The financial pressure on the Taigan Safari park is just one of the fallouts of the conflict that eventually led to the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Russia has also been pressurizing Ukraine financially since the start of the conflict in Crimea. A few weeks ago, Russia also claimed its rights over dolphins used in the Ukraine dolphin program.

Do you think Russia will step in to save these animals in Crimea who are suffering for no fault of theirs?

[Image via Yahoo]