Our work for animals in need continues in times of war. We have been supporting animals living in the midst of this crisis, striving to contribute to their safety and wellbeing since February 2022.
Situation and Support for Animals
Find out about our work and achievements
Support for Sirius Shelter
Our Mobile Clinic Stray Animal Care (SAC) team, which helps sterilise and treat dogs and cats, recently kicked off their work for the year with a successful mission at the Sirius Shelter in Kyiv region. Despite challenging conditions at the shelter, our team managed to sterilise 140 dogs and cats in just eight working days. This is a huge accomplishment, as not only animals in the shelter but also from a local village were treated thanks to volunteers who brought them to our team! According to the owner, all 3,500 animals living at Sirius Shelter are sterilised now. Our Ukrainian SAC team will now be moving on to Berdychiv, Zhytomyr region, where they will be working for one month to help stray dogs and cats. We are dedicated to continuing our work to make a difference for animals in Ukraine.
In 2022, throughout Project Kishka (which means female cat in Ukrainian), we have already treated 461 cats. This year, the project focussing on stray cats continues in the Ukrainian cities of Chernihiv, Sumy, Boryspil, Poltava and Uman. You can support Project Kishka here.
Support for vets
FOUR PAWS started a collaboration with the Ukrainian Small Animal Veterinary Association (USAVA), to enable veterinarians in some Ukrainian cities most affected by the war, to continue their lifesaving work. For pets and for strays, because after all, strays are nothing less than pets without a roof over their heads. Since December, over 700 dogs and cats have already been treated with this project.
Feeding in Mykoliav and Kherson
Since December, we together with our partner UPAW delivered 24 tons of pet food, providing 4,000 dogs and cats with food for an entire month.
Without these cooperations, many dogs and cats would not stand a chance during the war. FOUR PAWS has been active in the country for over a decade but today help is needed more than ever before. Our teams, therefore, continue to work tirelessly, because every animal's life is worth saving.
Shelter Adoption Programme
On 15th November, FOUR PAWS launched the Shelter Adoption Academy, an online programme designed for shelters in Ukraine that can help improve their adoption rate. The programme was developed by experts in the fields of animal welfare, dog behaviour, training, and education specialists. The online course was developed following a successful pilot with a public dog shelter in Ukraine which resulted in a 70% increase in the shelters local adoption rate. The 'Shelter Adoption Academy' comes at a time where there is global rise in the number of pets in animal shelters in the wake of the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine, which has led to a world-wide cost-of-living crisis and a rise in energy prices.
FOUR PAWS survey in Ukraine
We have conducted the first ever survey in Ukraine to find out about the welfare of companion animals during the war and what support is needed by shelters and volunteers in Ukraine to help those animals. The survey showed that the biggest problem is still abandonment of pets alongside the need for sterilisation of animals living on the streets and for pet food for pets, strays and shelter animals. Find the survey here.
Launch of Project Kishka
On the 24th of October, Project Kishka was launched by FOUR PAWS to help the stray cats of Ukraine who often are left behind. Since the beginning of the war, the stray animal population in Ukraine has increased immensely and NGOs continue to support communities with their local sterilisation programmes. Unfortunatley, cats are most of the time not part of these programmes.
That is why FOUR PAWS launched Project Kishka to sterilise, vaccinate, and medically treat 10,000 cats in Ukraine by December 2023.
Providing help during hard times
We continue to help animals caught in the crossfire of the war in Ukraine. We have been active in the country for over 10 years, and since the Russian invasion this past February, have continued to provide support, both within Ukraine and from afar. Thanks to your donations, we have been able to: Provide specialised care to 30 rescued bears at our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr; Support our Stray Animal Care teams in Ukraine and in bordering nations; Deliver 40 tons of food for wild animals in captivity; Treat over 1,500 dogs and cats in Ukraine since mid-April; Help refugees, children, and soldiers with our therapy dog Busia; Provide 2,000 refugee pets with veterinary care.
Emergency bear rescue in Ukraine
When a male brown bear was abandoned at a private location in the war-torn Donetsk region, our team on site didn’t hesitate to step in and offer him a new home! Bear Bakhmut, who was named after the place he was rescued from, was found stressed and malnourished in his destroyed enclosure with a broken roof. After having been fed by the Ukrainian military for the last couple of days, the bear has been brought to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr in cooperation with UAnimals and 'Wild Animal Rescue', where an experienced team can examine Bakhmut's health status and further assess long-term solutions.
Evacuated bears are returned to their home
At the beginning of March, 7 bears were transported from the “White Rock Bear Shelter” near Kyiv, to our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr, as their sanctuary wasn’t safe anymore. Three of these bears were later transported to Germany, and four were temporarily housed in the BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr. For more than three months our dedicated animal caretakers took care of these lovely bears, who adapted quickly and enjoyed their temporarily stay. As the situation has calmed down, and the owners consider it safe, the 4 bears are returned to their home (16.06.2022). They had a relaxed journey back and are doing well!
Positive news in the ongoing difficult times
BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr has started to invite visitors again since 20 May 2022. To ensure the safety and well-being of visitors and staff, visitors have to book an appointment to come to the sanctuary. For now, only a certain number of people are allowed to visit per day from Thursday to Saturday. Find out more recent updates about BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr.
Stray Animal Care saving lives in Kyiv region
With war raging in Ukraine thousands of people and animals are suffering. The Kyiv area was particularly affected during the first stage of the invasion and with the Russian military retreating the full impact of their occupation becomes visible. The entire region in the North of Kyiv is destroyed, many human lives were lost, houses and vital infrastructure like streets and hospitals are destroyed and, vital for dogs and cats, veterinary clinics and shelters are also damaged or semi-abandoned. Many pets are becoming homeless and, the weakest link, many stray and shelter animals are terrified and injured. We thus decided to help here where it is so desperately needed – FOUR PAWS has set up a temporary veterinary care project in Belogorodka village, Kyiv Oblast, and is now serving the areas of Bucha, Irpin and surroundings.
#FoodForAnimals: A second emergency delivery is on its way!
FOUR PAWS is able to send another 20 tons of food for zoo animals to Ukraine by train. The transport is supported by the Austrian Federal Railways and has left from Vienna, Austria. It takes up to a week until the desperately needed delivery will arrive at the Kyiv zoo. Find out more about the mission!
Update 09.05.2022: The transport of animal food and hay has finally arrived in Ukraine. At Kyiv zoo, the food is distributed to other Ukrainian zoos in Kharkiv, Odessa, Mykolayiv, Cherkassy, and Mena to help many zoo animals across Ukraine.
Much needed food deliveries reach shelters in need
Through UPAW we keep delivering food to the animal shelters in Ukraine that need it the most. We are focusing our aid to mini-shelters, public shelters and volunteers feeding stray animals in the Eastern regions of the country. One of these shelters is the ‘Chance’ shelter in Zaporizhia, where older dogs from the streets without much hope found a new home.
Since the beginning of the war, UPAW has delivered over 300 tons of food, to over 12,000 dogs and 9,000 cats in need all over Ukraine.
#FoodForAnimals: Emergency food delivery!
Our support for Ukrainian animals continues, thanks to the local authorities in Ukraine we are able to send a truck with nearly 20 tons of animal food to Kyiv Zoo who will then try to distribute the food to other zoos in the region. The delivery mainly contains special wild animal food for elephants, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, birds, but also dry hay, and dog and cat food to be distributed to shelters. Please support our work with a donation.
Update 08.04.2022 | Good news: Our truck arrived at Kyiv Zoo! After a long trip, our truck arrived and this will help those animals who also suffer in these difficult times.
UPAW keeps delivering tonnes of food to animal shelters in Ukraine
FOUR PAWS together with International Registration System - Animal ID and Dogs Trust Worldwide launched Ukrainian Pet Association Worldwide (UPAW) which works as a platform to register and fill in information regarding their most needed requirements. So far it has processed over 1,000 requests for mostly food, medicine and other supplies.
Help for animals at Ukrainian borders
When the war in Ukraine started, many animals were severely affected. FOUR PAWS together with our partners rushed to support them. Many refugees bring their pets with them, and we were able to help more than 1,500 of them in the last weeks. We provide them with much-needed items such as food and medication, as well as vet care. Our goal is to make sure the animals are prepared for the next step in their journeys. You can support our work here.
Vova is in our care!
One of the horrible things about war is that all the things that were wrong before keep being wrong, even though they might not get as much attention anymore. This is why even in challenging times like these we are doing our utmost best to change the lives of animals that are suffering. One of them is Vova, who was locked up in a tiny concrete cage outside a restaurant. For an animal his size, that is nothing short of torture. Last November the circumstances of his keeping became illegal by a change of law – and we have been fighting to get him out ever since. Almost 20,000 of you supported Vova by signing our petition – now together with the Ukrainian organisation UAAA we were able to convince the authorities to follow the plea, and we were able to take him into our care at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr.
Popeye and Asuka are settling in well in quarantine
The two bear cubs were temporarily cared for at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr after White Rock Bear Shelter had to relocate them due to heavy war action in the area. Recently, Alternativer Bärenpark Worbis, run by Stiftung für Bären has given them a long-term home. Popeye and Asuka are now getting used to their new surroundings and seem to have a lot of fun! We wish them all the best!
Taking care of refugees from Ukraine in Romania
Every day refugees from Ukraine are arriving at the Bucharest Railway Station. Our partner organisation Animal Society is working tirelessly to bring some relief to them, as well as pet food and equipment for their pets. Furthermore, our Animal Assisted Intervention teams and their dogs are paying visits to 3 refugee centres in Peris and Magurele. The visits of our teams come as a breath of fresh air especially for the children. We see that even in the most challenging times, dogs can bring a smile to even the most troubled humans!
A personal message
A personal message from Ihor Nykolyn, Director of our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr, specially for you to let you know how our bears are doing.
If you want to support us, you can do so here!
Urgent help to animal shelters in Ukraine
FOUR PAWS has teamed up with Animal ID and Dogs Trust Worldwide, and we are about to launch UPAW (Ukrainian Pet Association Worldwide). With this platform, shelters in need will have a direct connection to ask for much needed supplies. UPAW will facilitate the distribution of dog and cat food to hundreds of shelters in Ukraine. We will let you know when it is online – stay tuned!
In the meantime, over 176 tons of pet food to over 100 shelters in Kyiv, Kharkiv and many other cities have been distributed. This equates to feeding over 100,000 dogs and cats!
Transfer of 3 bears from Ukraine to Germany
In an emergency rescue mission, BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr accepted 7 bears that were evacuated by the NGO Save Wild Fund from White Rock Shelter located in the Kyiv region, in the first week of March as a temporary solution. However, the sanctuary’s maximum intake capacity does not allow the team to provide a long-term solution for all new 7 bears rescued in Ukraine. Also, other FOUR PAWS bear sanctuaries in Europe currently have no space to take bears in. Therefore, the FOUR PAWS team, together with White Rock Bear Shelter and Bears in Mind from the Netherlands has been working hand in hand with two German organisations that are well equipped to take care of the bears permanently. Alternativer Bärenpark Worbis, run by Stiftung für Bären who carried out the transfer from Domazhyr to Germany, will fromnow on house the two bear cubs, Popeye and Asuka. Moreover, Tierschutzzentrum Weidefeld, run by Tierschutzbund will be the long-term home to Asiatic Black Bear Malvina. We are very grateful that they will permanently shelter the bears in Germany. Thank you to everyone who is supporting this action!
Emergency evacuation of horses
Earlier this week, our Romanian partner ARCA put us in contact with a horse stable near Odessa concerning an emergency evacuation. As the safety of 4 horses could no longer be ensured, ARCA together with the help of a group from the Romanian equestrian society, organised a transport from the Moldovan-Ukrainian border to Romania. Not only for the horses, but also for their owners with their dog and cat. Our team was part of a humanitarian convoy and had to cover a distance of 1,700 km: a journey that took 3 full days.
To be able to save as many lives as possible, large authorised horse transport trucks are needed. To those who own such trucks and can give us a helping hand, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Waking up and foraging
Despite the current situation, our team on site at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr and our animals are still doing well under the circumstances. Our wonderful team continues to take care of the 36 bears, especially since half of the Domazhyr bears have woken up from their hibernation now. There are still a few bears resting, and we are wondering when they will show up to start foraging again.
Chada is the Himalayan brown bear that came to us from White Rock Bear Shelter last week, and she is already busy foraging in her new surroundings.
Physical and emotional support
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, our therapy dog Busia and her handler Natalia have been providing much-needed physical and emotional support to many families and children. When Natalia is not feeding and caring for animals at the shelter in Vinnytsia (to which we donated food last week week), she is providing a place to rest and food to families arriving after a long and exhausting journey. And while Natalia makes sure people recharge their batteries, Busia does her very best to cheer them up with her lovely character.
A new sanctuary update
Despite the current circumstances, our on-site team is not sitting still and is caring for 36 rescued bears. While most of the bears are still in hibernation, some are waking up and slowly getting active, and are starting to eat small amounts of food. Popeye and Asuka, two of our newest members since the emergency rescue with our partner White Rock Bear Shelter, are carefully exploring their new surroundings.
Help for Ukrainian pets in Romania
Together with our partner Animal Society, our team in Romania is responding swiftly to the current crisis. We are assisting Ukrainian refugees who are arriving with their pets at the Bucharest Northern Railway Station after a long and exhausting journey. The team has set up a comfortable tent in the railway hall to welcome refugee families and their pets so that they can have a minute to breathe and recover from what they have been through. Afterwards they receive much-needed items such as food, bowls, transport cages, leashes, collars, toys, and blankets. To make sure the animals are prepared for the next step in their journeys, our veterinarians provide free first aid care as well as deworming, microchipping, and vaccination against rabies.
Released into outdoor enclosure
Seven bears were transferred from White Rock Bear Shelter to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr. The two cubs and two of the adult bears were now released into the outdoor enclosure at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr. The bears and the team are doing well under the circumstances.
Much-needed food for shelter dogs
Yesterday, our AAI and SAC teams in Ukraine delivered 1.5 ton of dry dog food to Vinnytsia shelter Vinmsfa. This will help to feed approximately 320 dogs spread between Vinnytsia shelter and another local shelter for about one month. This food delivery comes as a huge relief as both shelters were starting to run out of food and the number of dogs is, unfortunately, increasing day by day.
Second emergency bear rescue
Last weekend, our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr took in 7 new bears. On Saturday evening the first 5 bears from White Rock Bear Shelter near Kyiv arrived, as their safety near the capital could no longer be assured. Yesterday evening late, also the 2 remaining bears of the same shelter made it safe to our sanctuary. In addition to the 29 bears that BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr was already housing, these 7 bears can count on our care. Additionally, our team is assessing the situation and planning the next steps to support animals that unfortunately are still in the country. Help is needed everywhere. Will you support us to be prepared? Then make a donation now.
Emergency rescue of 5 bears
#BREAKING! Emergency rescue of 5 bears in Ukraine! In times of emergencies, we have to be ready to act fast and support one another. 5 bears were translocated in an emergency rescue operation from White Rock Bear Shelter near Kyiv, to our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr as the shelter could no longer assure their safety. We are in constant contact with our colleagues in the country.
A thank you for all the messages
Dear friends of BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr. Let us start with saying THANK YOU. What an overwhelming amount of messages did we receive over the past few days, from all over the world. This really means a lot to us! Despite the current circumstances, our onsite team as well as the bears are doing well. Although most of the bears are still hibernating, some are awake and active like our Moris. We keep you posted. Please stay safe and take care of yourselves and your families.
Support for people and pets
FOUR PAWS welcomes the decision of the European Commission to open the EU borders to Ukrainians travelling with their pets, even without a valid pet passport and microchip. In order to support people evacuating with their pets we have set up a collaboration with our local partners in the neighbouring countries to support Ukrainian refugees with their pets should they need anything in the upcoming days and weeks. Find all the relevant info here.
An update message
from our sanctuary in these difficult times. All our staff and bears are doing well under the circumstances. Most bears are still hibernating, and those who are not – like Potap – are cared for according to their daily routines at the sanctuary. Thank you for all the supportive messages from all over the world, and to our friends from Ukraine, we say: stay strong!
Dear friends of BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr
We are deeply concerned about the current war in Ukraine. We empathise with everyone in Ukraine, humans and animals alike, our colleagues, and their families. The health and safety of our colleagues and bears is of the utmost importance to us and we continue to take care of the 29 bears in our sanctuary. Due to the current situation, the BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr will be closed for visitors until further notice. We will give regular updates. Please stay safe and take care of yourselves and your families.