Outrage as Russians Are Caught on Video Stealing Ukrainian Zoo Animals

Video of a private Russian zoo owner and his aides “inexpertly” dumping raccoons into cages and parading animals stolen from Ukraine horrified viewers in the West Sunday. Taigan Lion Park owner Oleg Zubkov – who according to The Washington Post also refers to himself as the ‘Lion Man’ – was given special access by the Kremlin’s designated leader of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, to travel to the liberated city of Kherson to take the animals, he claimed.

Video posted by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry showed Zubkov mishandling the raccoons before throwing them in cages, while warning of retaliation over the brazen robbery. It also noted the Russian military’s reputation for theft during its occupation of Kherson, a port city of Ukraine that was liberated by Ukrainian troops on Friday. Items that were stolen include historic artifacts such as the bones of the lover of Empress Catherine II.

However, the theft of Kherson zoo animals – seven raccoons, two female wolves, peacocks, a llama and a donkey – has prompted outsize fury. Video posted to YouTube shows Zubkov “manhandling” a llama into a decrepit, windowless van, as well as two wolves being unloaded into his Crimean zoo while Russian media captures the moment. Zubkov calls it a “temporary evacuation” and claims “it will be much better for the wolves here: large territory, Crimean sun, and besides, after the quarantine, they will get a male. It’s been their dream to live here.” Once Russia reoccupies Kherson, he claims, the wolves will be returned.

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