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The Zoo in Years of War

The 22nd of June, 1941. There are many visitors in the Zoo. Announcement about the beginning of war made the Zoo empty in a flash of a second...

The city soon adjusted to the war rythm of living. The Zoo staff kept on working, doing everything possible to keep animals and the Zoo alive. The Zoo remained a single place of public leisure in the city occupied by German fascists. There still were 115 animal and bird species as well as 23 species of fish. 


Invaders had not touched the Zoo until it was obvious for them that they had to leave Kharkov. The first bomb attack was made from German airplanes on the 14th of August, 1943. The elephant house was demolished. In the following days aviary and aquarium were severely damaged, nonkey house was partially destroyed. Taking leave, invaders killed lots of Zoo inhabitants: 9 lions, 6 raccoon dogs, 1 polar bear, 2 brown bears, 2 elephants, 1 leopard, 1 Ussuri tiger, 26 monkeys, 12 pigs, 2 sables, 5 crocodiles, 1 zebra, 4 camels, 1 antelope, 1 lama, 17 deer, 19 white-spotted deer, 3 buffalos, 2 donkeys, 5 ponies, 17 horses, 280 wild ducks, 287 geese.

For the moment of liberation of Kharkov from fascists there remained alive 4 bears, 5 monkeys and 1 wolf. But the city was free now and it the Zoo soon recovered! In the spring and in summer of 1944 the collection was replenished with new animals and Zoo visitors number enlarged. In 1944 the Zoo recieved as a gift and bought 20 foxes, 2 Ussuri raccoons, 9 geese, 10 ducks, 2 peacocks, 2 guinea-hens, 20 rabbits. Moscow Zoo sent to Kharkov 3 wolves, 3 foxes, 1 jackal, 3 brown bears, 3 Himalayan bears, 1 spotted deer, 1 silver fox, 2 griffon vultures, 2 eagles, 1 owl. Also there came 1 brown bear, 1 Himalayan boar, 1 dingo, 1  marten, 20 finches. In 1945 the Young Biologists' Club resumed its work.