The Kharkov Zoo has always been one of my favorite places to spend an afternoon. Hidden in the heart of the city, bordered by Karazina University, Shevchenko Park, and a busy side street, this place has a certain charm that lures us back over and over again. (Or rather, it lures me and then I drag a reluctant D along with the promise of a beer.)
*Update on the zoo situation (things are looking much, much better for the animals!!): http://8monthsinukraine.blogspot.com/2014/03/kharkov-zoo-update.html*
The following letter appeared today on the zoo's website.
Dear Kharkovians and Guests of Our City!
Spring has come. Nature awakens. The sun gently shines. What better reasons are there to visit your beloved zoo? Come explore the wonderful and unique world of nature and its inhabitants. Our zoo is more than a century old and is the hallmark of the city. In the history of this zoo- the oldest zoo in Ukraine- there have been victories and catastrophes. Along with the entire country, we lived through two world wars, revolutions, the difficult postwar years, and perestroika. The zoo survived because of the kind hearts and souls of our citizens: loving, appreciating and understanding animals, and true patriots of our city.
Unfortunately, the zoo is now again suffering along with the entire country. It has never before been so difficult for us. We currently face a huge problem - an almost complete lack of funding. If urgent measures are not taken, next week innocent animals will die. Our animal friends are not fighting for power nor do they share someone's political views - THEY JUST WANT TO LIVE.
Every single citizen can help save the animals. To do this, just come to the zoo and buy a ticket. Together we can save our animal friends.
Don't let the pride of Ukraine- one of the best zoos in Europe- be destroyed.
Published March 6th, 2014. 12:41 PM.
Within hours of being published, I saw this letter shared several times on the vk social network. I hope it will encourage people to step up and help out. Understandably, people have been tightening their belts as of late. Even the demand for English has fallen- enrollment is down at local schools, fewer people are requesting private lessons. Life's little extras are being replaced by bigger, more worrisome concerns.
They are right; the zoo has survived tough times before. It was partially destroyed during WWII, when German soldiers occupied the city. It was during this two-year occupation that three monkeys escaped and found shelter within the neighboring Derzhprom buildings. The monkeys spent several years in these buildings, living off handouts from the locals, until the Red Army retook the city in 1943 and the monkeys were recaptured and brought back to what was left of the zoo.
|"Any forms of help will be greatly appreciated."|
In case you're up for a visit this weekend, the zoo administration has sweetened the deal-
This March 8th (International Women's Day), the Kharkov zoo offers a gift to all who wish to visit this beautiful area in the city center: half-price entrance.
Tickets prices this day will be:
for adults - 20 UAH;
for children 5-13 years - 10 UAH;
for children under 5 years - free.
Please come out and visit.
By purchasing a ticket, you will financially support the zoo. Zoo inhabitants will welcome you during this period that's been so difficult for all of us.
What do you say- see you at the zoo on Saturday?
Update on the zoo situation (things are looking much, much better for the animals!!): http://8monthsinukraine.blogspot.com/2014/03/kharkov-zoo-update.html