The day before the exhibition of children's drawings “I am a ZooFriend”, dedicated to the World Environment Day and the Day of the Ecologist, celebrated annually in Russia, was opened in the building of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation. It was initiated by the Commission for Ecology and Environmental Protection of the Russian Public Chamber.
“As part of the All-Russian ZooFriend campaign to help zoos and shelters in Donbass and neighboring regions we collect and send help to zoos and shelters in the DPR, LPR, Kherson and Melitopol. In support of the campaign, schoolchildren from these cities and regions made drawings depicting their favorite animals, pets and animals they dream to see. These works are very touching and show how deeply people in these regions are concerned about our little brothers and daughters. The exhibition, opened at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation, is held as a sign of solidarity with local residents and as a symbol linking big Russia and small Russian lands,” Elena Sharoykina, organizer of the ZooFriend campaign and chairman of the Commission on Ecology and Environmental Protection of the Russian Public Chamber, said at the exhibition opening ceremony.
“We are pleased to welcome the I am a ZooFriend exhibition of drawings withing the walls of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. This is a very important project, because animals are not just an integral part of our lives. They help us to overcome difficulties and find the strength to cope with difficult times. This is what we see in the drawings created by children in Donbass and other regions, which receive help from ZoOFriend,” Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergey Yastrebov said at the welcome ceremony.
Nikolai Drozdov, professor, zoologist and TV presenter, who has supported the ZooFriend campaign since its launch, delivered a speech at the exhibition opening. “Every child in Donbass who drew their pets or zoo inhabitants for this exhibition now proudly wears a ZooFriend badge. The same badges are given to Russian residents who support this important action and participate in the collection of aid. I hope that soon everyone will have such a badge,” he said.
Alexander Zakodyrin, Chairman of the Public Council of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, who visited Donetsk the day before and handed over a humanitarian cargo to his colleagues from environmental protection agencies, also shared his impressions with the guests.
“I watched a sad picture of what is now happening in the region but today, at the I am a Friend exhibition of drawings of children from the DPR and LPR, I want to smile because they are filled with goodness. ZooFriend is a wonderful initiative to help zoos and shelters, which is supported by our Public Council and the Ministry of Natural Resources represented by Minister Alexander Kozlov. This is a public initiative and it comes from the heart!”
Irina Donnik, the vice-president of Russian Academy of Science, which recently became a member of organizing committee of the Help to animals in Donbass campaign, held on her initiative among scientists, representatives of veterinary community, profile high schools across the country, came to support the I am a ZooFriend exhibition. “The fact that I am a ZooFriend first is carried out in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, is very symbolic,” she said. “Environmental protection is a fundamentally important task in which our generation must invest all its energies. Animal protection is an integral part of the entire program to preserve nature and the world in which we live. The animals we have domesticated and those that live in zoos cannot live without human help. It is our duty to provide them with everything they need. That is obvious to every child, and these stunning drawings of children in Donbass are proof of that. ZooFriend is not just an act of humanism. By helping animals, we prevent the spread of dangerous diseases and infections and minimize the risk of aggression from animals.”
The I am a ZooFriend exhibition will be held in the building of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation in Moscow on Miusskaya Square from July 18 to August 5. Admission is free.
I am a ZooFriend is carried out within the framework of the All-Russian campaign to help zoos and animals in Donbass and neighboring regions and is aimed at raising children's love and responsible attitude to animals.
Informational support of united efforts of citizens of Russia, Donbass and other cities to save and provide everything necessary both pets left without owners and animals from zoos, including rare and Red Book species, as well as zoo corners, equestrian sports clubs, etc is the main goal of the exhibition.
The ZooFriend campaign has caused a positive response from Russian citizens in all corners of the country who participate in the collection of aid, and residents of the regions where ZooFriend delivers aid continue to express their gratitude to the organizing committee of the campaign.
The All-Russian ZooFriend campaign to help the zoos and animals in Donbas and neighboring regions was launched by the initiative of the Commission on Ecology and Environmental Protection of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation on March 31, 2022.
It collects money, food and veterinary medicines, takes animals left without owners to Russia, and sends help to zoos and shelters in Donbass and nearby regions.
During the campaign ZooFriend sent four truckloads of aid to the DPR, LPR, Kherson, Melitopol and Mariupol with a total weight of over 63 tons. Help was distributed among zoos, animal shelters, equestrian clubs and shelters for homeless animals. In addition, ZooFriend delivered aid to the Donetsk Botanical Garden such as plant care equipment, which was donated by the Russian Geographical Society. In addition, together with the All-Russian People's Front organizing committee ZooFriend provided food for dogs, cats and parrots in the temporary accommodation centers in Vladimir and Ulyanovsk.
The organizing committee of ZooFriend united leading Russian foundations and organizations that help both wild and domesticated pets. Since the start of the campaign, members of the organizing committee have provided Mariupol Zoo with two electric generators for refrigeration equipment, veterinary medicines, electrodes for welding and funds for the purchase of five tons of hay and four tons of oats. We brought 20 dogs and 22 cats from the Home of Angels shelter in Kharkov region and 10 dogs from Donetsk. The Svaya Staya center, Lesnoy Shelter and the Nika Foundation took care of them. The animals have already found families in Russia. We sent 243 kg of food to the 4 Paws shelter in Donetsk, which takes care of 600 dogs and 100 cats.
The organizing committee of ZooFriend includes:
- Moscow Society for the Protection of Animals
- the GBR. Zoozaschita Center for the Protection of Animals
- the Svoya Staya Rehabilitation Center for Stray Dogs
- the Lesnoy Proyut Charitable Foundation for assistance to animals
- the Nika Charitable Foundation for assistance to homeless animals
- Fund for the Protection of Whales
- the Ryadom benevolent fund
- All-Russian Public Organization Russian Biological Society
- Alliance of Animals Defenders
- Russian Kennel Federation
- Public Chamber of the DPR
- Friends of My Heart Community
- Alye Parusa Regional Public Organization of Disabled People
- Public Chamber of Moscow Region
- Help to Animals in Donbass Action
The ZooFriend help point operates in the public humanitarian aid collection center for Donbass residents in the building of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation on Miusskaya Square in Moscow.
All information about the received aid and news is published in the official Telegram channel of the All-Russian campaign ZooFriend: