March 4 - An international group works to save starving animals abandoned in former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich's private zoo. Gavino Garay reports.
Exotic animals abandoned by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich face starvation. He fled the country -- leaving more than 2,000 animals behind on his nearly 350-acre sprawling estate. Now, volunteers, including the former curator of the Kiev zoo, are desperate to feed them. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SERHEY GRYHORYEV, FORMER CURATOR OF KIEV ZOO, NOW ONE OF THE HEADS OF STAFF AT YANUKOVICH FACILITY, SAYING: "The situation's still critical. We can't rely on gifts. We need to provide a stable guarantee of the animals' food supply. We need combined feed. We've temporarily resolved the problem with hay and now we need combined food for all kinds of animals" In early April, a team from the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization, an international group that rescues zoo animals in conflict zones, arrived on the scene. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIONEL DE LANGE, REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF THE ANTHONY EARTH ORGANIZATION (LAEO), SAYING: "We need to get funds, we need to raise funds to buy the grain and the corn and the food that they need to feed these animals" Some of the animals have reportedly already been stolen. Nearly 100 volunteers have been tending to the mountain goats, ostriches, and others. The organization is hoping to build an enclosure on the premises that will help keep the animals safe.