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“Charlyk is a monkey and Anfisa is his girlfriend. They died”: Close to 300 animals drown at Nova Kakhovka private zoo

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Close to 300 animals have died in the Kazkova Dibrova private zoo in Nova Kakhovka as a result of the floodwaters unleashed by the destruction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) on June 6, volunteers who helped monitor the animals told The Insider.

Kazkova Dibrova was located in a valley near the Dnipro River. According to The Insider’s sources, the zoo was flooded almost immediately after the break of the Kakhovka HPP. Volunteers dived and tried to open the enclosures, but failed. On the day of the flood on June 6, a video depicting a crying woman who was filming the water rushing out of the zoo gates circulated on social media. The video depicts “Kazkova Dibrova.”

According to the volunteers, the zoo’s owner had abandoned it some time ago. Local residents and volunteers brought the animals food and looked after the entire facility, which continued to work despite the cold weather and artillery strikes. The volunteers stressed that the Russian media reported false information about the rescued pets, as they only reported on the Kherson zoo without mentioning the private zoo in Nova Kakhovka. The owner of the Crimean zoo “Taigan” Oleg Zubkov took the animals from a naturalist station in Kherson, the volunteers explained, and no one evacuated the pets from Kazkova Dibrova.

“It wasn’t a zoo, but a private menagerie,” says a source interviewed by The Insider. “There were raccoons, ostriches, and monkeys. They say there was nothing there, but there was! There were two monkeys, green monkeys, both drowned. There were six raccoons, porcupines, ostriches, peacocks. There were a lot of them. They survived everything in a year and a half – the shelling and the bomb strikes... They survived everything. And here they drowned. There was a sudden flood at two in the morning, and no one had time to open the enclosures. Volunteers came [to the zoo] and tried to dive in, but there was a strong rush of water. They wanted to at least save the monkeys, but they couldn't. Their aviary is the first one near the gate, but they still couldn't reach it in time.”

Some of the animals were in the zoo by accident. Right before the flood, a monkey named Charlyk was brought to Kazkova Dibrova to join another monkey, Anfisa. The volunteers explained that the animals spent time together every summer.

“Charlyk is a monkey, a green monkey, and Anfisa is his girlfriend. They died. Charlyk was brought in every summer for them to play around and be together. The whole zoo stayed for the winter, because it was heated, there were winter enclosures, but the monkeys are small, and so they were taken home,” says the volunteer.

According to The Insider’s sources, the pony Malysh (“Baby”), the mule Osa (“Wasp”), raccoons, a bear, an African grey parrot, a crow named Roma, a marmot, Cameroonian goats, sheep, parrots, guinea pigs, ferrets and many other pets died. A couple of swans and ducks were rescued. A baby swan that was born five days before the flood also perished as a result of the floodwater.

The animals that were taken in by the volunteers during the cold weather survived: the parrot Venya, as well as flying squirrels, ferrets, chinchillas and guinea pigs. The volunteers added that they hope a dog and a cat made it out alive – they were not locked up and could have escaped to the city, which is located further out from the shoreline.

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