Quarantine in “Cat Town”: volunteers get on foot, on bicycles and sometimes by transport

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UA-Times report about how 60 residents of “Cat Town” – cats – survive under quarantine, which volunteers from different parts of the city participating in. Here is the story of volunteers.

Gentleman’s volunteers Oleg Andros “the era of apocalypse”

Preparation for the trip begins with the collection of hiking packs. Buff face mask, and when the temperature is 0, then need to cover whole head. Cap – for the same reason. The medical mask is disposable in the case – suddenly store security does not know that the buff can fulfill its function. Gloves (washed in the evening, like a buff).
Bicycle lock – there is a need to stop by the store for products.
Optional -animals food which the pet store, bicycle Flashlight,The keys of warehouse. Wallet, Passport Pass to the zoo. disposable clothes – including hoodies.

The gentlemanly volunteer in the apocalypse era is ready!

It takes about an hour to go from Protasovy Yar to Zoologicheskaya, 4a by bicycle.  Route dashed off – down the mountain I’m moving the railway in the area of the Ministry of Transport, and I climb the mountain through the Karavaev cottages. Each pothole of the route has been studied. Annoying construction near the registry office, where you need to dismount, and the endless climb to the hill, which is Zoologicheskaya street.

Kyiv Railway station in quarantine – 03/23/2020 / Photo by Oleg Andros

 

Ivan Ogienko street – 03/23/2020 / Photo by Oleg Andros

We making all these efforts, so that 60 wards of our organization are fed and watered daily – “Nature First” Free Journalists Association”. These are cats looking for good hands, and some of them will never be able to live in a comfortable apartment because of their Wildness.

Angelika Komarova: “The bus passed by, I had to runnig to it till the end “

Despite the difficulties with moving around the city, Angelika Komarova, the head of publicorganization “Nature Protection Council First”, founder of Kotogorodok, who lives in Lisovyi masyv, in the opposite part of Kyiv, does not leave her fosterlings.

“What does a volunteer feel like crossing the city from one end to the other to feed and treat animals? Every day I need to get from Lisovyi masyv to Zoologicheskaya street, I have a backpack behind me, I have two bags of food in my hands, a total of 7-8 kilograms,” – Angelica said.

The quarantine, especially the ban on travel in public transport since March 23, exposed all the problems faced by residents of the left bank, getting to work on the right bank. Although our work is free, it is no less responsible – it is impossible to “skip” it.

“On the very first day of metro ban, on March 18, it became clear that the promised 118 bus from Lisovyi masyv to KPI would not take everyone . At rush hour, fights and crowds began on Chernigovskaya,” Angelica recalls. But those who couldn’t and didn’t leak out blocked the bus with the requirements to let them into the passenger compartment immediately. In parallel, taxi prices doubled or tripled in a couple of hours — and this was ordered through applications. standing taxi driver – the price was getting higher than Everest ”

Posted by Марина Куценко on Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Angelica prudently missed rush hour and tried to catch bus during the day. But even at 12:00 it was unrealistic – I had to take a taxi, which took four passengers for 35 UAH each “.

It was Saturday, March 21st. “Due to double loading, I was returning home at about 8 p.m. The nearest stop is on Victory Avenue, opposite Zoologicheskaya, where bus number 118 usually stops, the zoo defender continues. – I came to a stop at about 20:00 in the evening. Waited for bus number 118 for an hour. Another man came up to the stop, a worker of the KPI. Finally, the bus appeared on the horizon, we began to wave, so that the driver noticed us, because it was already dark. To our great surprise, the bus passed by; there were several people in the cabin, less than ten. Then we started running to catch up with the bus at its final stop. When they arrived, the bus was already closed. We knocked the driver, shouting “why did not stop ?!”. Then he opened the door to rudely reply that there is no stop opposite the zoo and we can complain about the hot line. While the door was open, I jumped into the cabin to the driver and started asking him to let me in, as I was very cold. In response, the driver let in a conductor, who threw me out of the passenger compartment. The bus left, and in parting, driver twisted finger at temple. As a result, I was forced to call a taxi, which is 130 UAH cost. ”

March 22, the trip was also given with a fight. “In the morning I again went along the same route and again got into this bus (number – 48-13). To my great surprise, there were already 14 rather than 10 in bus!! In the evening when I was returning, the same bus 43-18 approached the KPI stop again. And agian im not surprised two masked men were already sitting inside. The line that formed at bus station stoped, i asked the driver to expel them, driver replied that he could not do anything. I must say that this time the conductor was not there. Six more “extra” passengers crammed inside, so the driver waited for a long time, he dialed someone on the phone and finally drove off, breaking the rule of “no more than ten,” Angelica added.

History of Kotogorodok

The history of these several dozen cats is similar to that in all the big cities of Ukraine. At each enterprise, there are accumulations of discarded and breeding animals. Enterprises from the time of the soviet solved the “problem” as cruelly as possible – specifically, in the Kyiv zoo, according to stories of employees, cats were killed before 2010.

The zoo was “lucky” to be a strategic object almost in the center of Kyiv, the reason for this is ignorance and barbarism of the population, which grossly denied the sterilization of animals.

At that time we, then still the public initiative “Nature First of All”, Angelika Komarova became interested in the issues of the zoo, known for her animal protection activities since 1996, and her efforts to save the cats of the zoo, took over as head of the press service of the zoo.

 

Angelica is the first one who drew attention to the existence of discarded cats in the center of zoo. Then they fed with bones thrown from the trash and heating pipes in winter. Our organization had zero resources to help them; Angelica fed them with her modest salary. The administration of zoo strongly discouraged the publication of the fact of the presence of cats in the territory of the zoo, because it was afraid of publicizing the facts of the destruction of animals. The project for the control of cats written by Angelica did not want to consider the zoo either. In this way, since 2010, a social movement has begun around the zoo cats.

In January 2013, we launched a group, and a Facebook page, then called “Zoocots – in good hands.” In 2013, employees of zoo with the filing of Angelica made first “cat-house”.

In 2014, power in Kyiv, and a few months later – in the zoo changed. With the advent of the new director Kirill Trantin in 2014, some changes in the fate of cats were outlined. But they still were not included in the fund and were not taken to the balance sheet. Activists were only allowed to let animals into an abandoned monkey house in the center of the zoo. A group of volunteers began to form around the future of Kotogorodok – people made houses with their own hands, whitewashed the walls, carried cats for sterilization, arranging in good hands.

The Zookot in the fall Photo by Oleg Andros

In 2016, we tried to include Kotogorodok in the project for the future reconstruction of Kyiv Zoo in the form of an exposition “Kit Svіysky”, but the Kyiv City State Administration represented by the deputy director of the Department of Urban Improvement and Conservation of the Environment Andrei Malevany (since then, until now – the head of the Department of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Kyiv City State Administration) ignored our appeal.

In 2017, the first wave fell on us “Reconstruction” of the zoo, and with it the panic relocation of cats. This relocation was preceded by a series of pickets by the mayor’s office, as a result of which the head of city Vitali Klitschko gave an oral order on the temporary location of cats in the unused territory of the zoo.

 

Due to f three construction volunteers and philanthropists who bought the fence, Kotogorodok became what it still is in the summer and autumn of 2017 – a group of MAFs with a perimeter fence behind which cats are kept. MAFs “lent” to the Kiev administration. A purchased fence made of corrugated board 3 meters high does not allow the Zoocots to escape to their “old” place, which to this day is dangerous due to construction work.

Snow-covered Kotogorodok, 03/22/2020 / Photo by Angelika Komarova, for UA-Times

A positive thing about the current situation is that all of our wards are sterilized, and half of them are suitable for transfer to good hands. Negative – cats continue to be thrown at the zoo by employees of the enterprise, taking away a lot of our time, energy and money, thereby destroying our plans for the future.

There are many plans, but they are limited by resources, and now also quarantine. Kotorodok is still not legalized – it exists in the zoo on the oral assurances of Mayor Vitali Klitschko, who promises to “solve the problem” from 2017. From his lips, the phrase even somehow somehow came through: “Don’t worry, there will be enough places in the zoo, nobody will touch you.”

On January 29, 2020, our issue was considered at the eco-commission of the City Council after many years of correspondence with officials. Then Konstantin Yalovoi promised us that by the next meeting of the commission, officials will report on the legalization of Kotogorodok. But until now, silence has been aggravated by quarantine.

Kotogorodok, like kyiv was covered with snow on March 22, 2020 / Photo by Angelika Komarova, UA-Times

Fight goes on

Angelica received an unexpected “days off” in form of five days without a special permission, when only employees of the enterprises necessary the capital began to be allowed into Kyiv transport.

As of the weekend, March 28-29, Kotogorodok volunteers received five special permissions for travel in public transport from Kyiv City State Administration. Applications were submitted on March 21, these pieces of cardboard arrived as early as March 25, on the fifth day of severe restrictions. All these days, “Zookot” I fed and the second volunteer, Marina Kutsenko. I got on a bicycle (a couple of days at zero temperature), and Marina on foot from Nivok area. On Saturday, a volunteer who came by bicycle from Solomenskaya area.

The scream of solidarity thrown by us on Facebook also worked – on March 24, a philanthropist lady gave us several bags of food, and two young people took him by car to the zoo, Feline Therapy is the best remedy for stress.

Special permissions, as it turned out, “work out” every other time due to the fact that we, the volunteers, are not in the zoo staff, and the badge must be supplemented by a certificate from the place of work. Note that only Angelica and I have a pass to the zoo, the rest do as they can.

In the tram going to station, the controller did not check with our volunteer even the passport. And in a 220 minibus, a camouflaged guard paired with a policeman said: “Today, still go, but tomorrow so that there is a certificate of employment or a certificate.” On March 27, volunteers were sent to the same 220 march on a “cardboard” without asking for a certificate.

March 28, 2020 / Photo by Edgar Gostyaev, UA-Times

Separate coverage is deserved by the topic of how other volunteers of Kyiv get to their shelters and feeding and sterilization points. Nevertheless, the struggle for life and health of cats at Kyiv Zoo continues. We survived Maidan, we survive wartime, we survive and quarantine.

Oleg Andros


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