A lioness that became caught in the combat area in Ukraine, along with three cubs, after a breeding facility in Donetsk was taken over by Russian forces, has been rescued. Lioness Asya and her three eight-month-old cubs, Emi, Teddi, and Santa, were left all alone without food or water when the owners fled the scene amid the ongoing conflict.
Fortunately, a wildlife rescue organisation intervened to save Viseris, a second two-year-old male lion, the lioness, and her cubs.
The lengthy 20-hour trip to a zoo in Poznan, Poland, required the International Fund for Animal Welfare to make sure the animals were sedated for their protection.
Since the crisis started 16 months ago, the Poznan Zoo has served as a haven for some 200 animals from Ukraine, including lions, tigers, wolves, and bears.
The affected animals are being paired with new homes, reports the Sun.
IFAW spokesperson Natalia Gozak voiced concern for the situation of these unintended combat casualties.
She drew attention to the terrible instances in which lions, usually seen prowling the African plains, were instead located in backyard breeding facilities within her own country, which had been devastated by the Russian invasion.
The lions were left to endure a state of neglect and suffering when the owners were forced to leave their lands.
According to Remigiusz Kozinski from the education department of the zoo, the lions are now in a secure and healthy state, and they are gradually adjusting to their new environment.
The Ukrainian military said in a regular update Sunday morning (June 18) that over the previous 24 hours Russia had carried out 43 airstrikes, four missile strikes and 51 attacks from multiple rocket launchers.
According to the statement by the General Staff, Russia continues to concentrate its efforts on offensive operations in Ukraine’s industrial east, focusing attacks around Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Marinka and Lyman in Donetsk province, with 26 combat clashes taking place.
Donetsk regional Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said that two civilians were killed, with a further three wounded in the past day.
Ukrainian officials said Russian forces also launched airstrikes on other regions of the east and south of the country.
One civilian was killed and four more wounded in Kherson province as a result of Russia’s attacks, said regional Gov. Oleksandr Prokudin, while Zaporizhzhia regional Gov.
Yurii Malashko said one person was wounded in Russian attacks that hit 20 settlements in the province.
Vladimir Rogov, an official with the Moscow-appointed administration in the partially occupied Zaporizhzhia region, said on Sunday that Ukrainian forces had taken control of the village of Piatykhatky on the Zaporizhzhia battlefront.
Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesperson of the regional government in the southwestern Odesa province, said Ukrainian forces destroyed a “very significant” ammunition depot near the Russian-occupied port city of Henichesk in nearby Kherson province.
This article by Tim McNulty was first published by The Express on 19 June 2023. Lead Image: Lioness and her cubs rescued from war zone in Ukraine (Image: AFP).
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