Niabi Zoo foundation aids threatened Ukrainian zoological park

A Ukrainian animal reserve threatened by Russia’s bombardment of that country is getting financial assistance from the Quad Cities-based foundation that supports Niabi Zoo.

Saiga antelope like the one shown here in the Askania-Nova Biosphere are threatened by the Russian bombardment of Ukraine. CREDIT UNESCO

The Niabi Zoo & Forest Preserves Foundation recently voted unanimously to assist the Askania-Nova Biosphere – also known as the Ukrainian Seregeneti – through a $1,000 matching grant. 

The organization, which was created to financially assist the zoo near Coal Valley and other Rock Island County forest preserves, is urging Quad Citians to donate to that agency which manages a zoological garden and the Saiga Biosphere reserve. That’s also a Unesco Heritage site. Such sites are legally protected through the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization because they have cultural, natural, historical, scientific or other  significance. 

The Ukrainian reserve, for example, holds the only captive herd of Saiga antelope in the world, making it “extremely important to the conservation of the species,” the foundation said. 

“The reserve biodiversity is amazing with over 500 plant species, and over 3,000 species of animals,” the foundation board added. The Askania-Nova Biosphere is located in Kherson Oblast, North of Crimea, and is operated by the National Academy of Agrarian Science of Ukraine. Askania-Nova is a heavily targeted and strategic military area.”

In announcing the matching grant, the foundation said “No one can watch this destruction occur and not be impacted by the humanitarian catastrophe that is unfolding in real time right before our eyes. While the Niabi Zoo & Forest Preserves Foundation is deeply concerned with the humanitarian cost of this senseless war, we are in a much better position to support animal welfare relief.”

The foundation is working with the Zoological Association of America (ZAA) to get donated funds where they are needed, the board said.

Foundation members urge those who want to help to use this link to make a donation on the Niabi Zoo website. After choosing your donation amount, use the drop down menu under “Apply my donation to” and select “Ukraine Fund.” 

Supporters can also mail their donation to: Niabi Zoological Park, 13010 Niabi Zoo Road, Coal Valley, IL 61240. Please write “Ukraine Fund” on the memo line of your check. The Foundation will match the first $1,000. 

Donors also can go to the ZAA website at  to contribute. Please put Askania in the comment box.

Click here to read how other regional companies have responded to the crisis in Ukraine.

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