Voices from Russia

Sunday, 9 August 2015

9 August 2015. Will You Be My Neighbour?

00 kid and lion. 080815


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

“We’re All OK”… The First Bear Woke Up from Hibernation at the Lugansk Zoopark… Spring is on its Way

00 lugansk zoopark. 04.03.15


On 2 March, Lugansk Zoopark keeper Dmitri Khitryuk told visitors, “We’e all OK. The Gorispolkom* owns the Lugansk House of Animals at the Unified Park of Culture and Rest. We’re self-sufficient, so, we don’t depend on government funding. Despite the fact that we had to suspend operations at the zoopark last year, we were able to save all the animals. To help save the animals, local people brought in all kinds of food. The Lugansk meatpacking plant gave us a lot of help in feeding the predators… lions, bears, foxes, and wolves. People didn’t stop to help us feed the animals, and they still collect all kinds of goodies for our beasts. However, we need all kinds of edibles, as our little family is very diverse… we have herbivorous beavers and deer, raccoons love fish, whilst dogs and monkeys are omnivores. Fortunately, life here goes on as usual. We hope that there’d be peace in Lugansk this spring so that we could begin normal operations again. The world needs not only people, but also animals”. The Lugansk Zoopark admits visitors with the beginning of spring. The official opening of the zoo-year takes place on 1 May.

  • Gorispolkom: City Executive Committee

3 March 2015


Four-legged forecasters at the Lugansk Zoopark predict the beginning of spring… on 2 March, the first Himalayan Bear woke up from hibernation. Zookeeper Dmitri Khitryuk said, “Krosh was the first harbinger of spring. The bear woke up as he should; normally, they come out of hibernation as soon as the temperature reaches 5.4 degrees (42 degrees Fahrenheit). As soon as he got up, the bear showed an appetite… he had some delicious treats. Gradually, the keepers will give him more vegetables, then, they’ll add meat to his diet. Different names for the Himalayan Black Bear are Asian, Himalayan, or Moon Bear. The main distinction of this forest denizen is a white moon-shaped stripe on his chest. Krosh is the only Himalayan Bear in the Lugansk Zoopark. His keepers invited the public to bring Krosh goodies. This king of the forest is omnivorous … he likes pine nuts, acorns, leaves, fruit, pine cones, insects, and fish.

4 March 2015

Liliya Levitskaya

MIA Istok



Thursday, 26 February 2015

Sputnik International Presents… What’s Shakin’ at the Moscow Zoopark? First Steps With Mom: Simona and Her Baby Polar Bears

00 Polar bear cubs. Moscow Zoopark 01. Russia. 26.02.15

The two polar bear cubs that were born in the Moscow Zoopark on 10 November 2014 are strong enough to leave the inner quarters of their enclosure for the first time.


00 Polar bear cubs. Moscow Zoopark 02. Russia. 26.02.15

Simona, the mother bear, with one of her two cubs.


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The Moscow Zoopark official website said that the cubs stick close to their mother the whole time; they do everything that she tells them to.


00 Polar bear cubs. Moscow Zoopark 04. Russia. 26.02.15

Simona with one of her two cubs.


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According to the Zoopark official website, “When Simona lets out a special snort, the cubs immediately follow her back inside”.


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One of Simona’s two cubs exploring the enclosure.


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It’s difficult to spot the cubs outside because their walks are still very short.


00 Polar bear cubs. Moscow Zoopark 08. Russia. 26.02.15

Simona doesn’t allow the cubs to get close to water so they look really dirty. In time, their fur will become much whiter.


00 Polar bear cubs. Moscow Zoopark 09. Russia. 26.02.15

A happy family…


25 February 2015

Sputnik International


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

What’s Shakin’ at the Yekaterinburg Zoopark? Pugovka the Hedgehog Predicts an Early Spring, That’s What!

00 Pugovka the Hedgehog. Groundhog Day. Russia. Yekaterinburg Zoo. 03.02.15

She chose “sunny” for an early spring! That’s what’s shakin’ at the Yekaterinburg Zoopark…


On Monday, Pugovka, a long-eared Russian hedgehog at the Yekaterinburg Zoopark, promised the people of the Urals an early spring, in a local event rivalling the American holiday Groundhog Day. Handlers placed Pugovka, the Russian diminutive for “button” or “buttonette” on a mat before two separate sets of plates with her favourite delicacies, including curds, carrots, and ground meat, with the phrases “early spring”, “late spring”, “sunny”, and “cloudy”. Unable to make up her mind at first, Pugovka eventually chose “early spring”. Then, hesitating a bit between “’sunny” and “cloudy”, she ended up at “sunny”, signalling an early and sunny spring. This is Pugovka’s fourth year serving as prognosticator. A Yekaterinburg Zoopark statement noted, “This event is similar to the overseas Groundhog Day and the ancient Roman Hedgehog Day, where the animals make predictions regarding the coming spring. However, our zoopark doesn’t have a groundhog, so our long-eared hedgehog Pugovka got the job. This year, she continued her responsibility… to determine what kind of weather awaits us when spring begins”.

German immigrants brought customs to the USA that became the famous American holiday Groundhog Day, popularised around the world by the 1993 film of the same name. According to the American tradition, if Punxsutawney Phil leaves his burrow and doesn’t see his shadow, his country will have an early spring. This year, Phil emerged from his burrow atop Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania and saw his shadow, forecasting six more weeks of winter for North America. In recent years, some Russian cities decided to celebrate the holiday themselves, but using hedgehogs instead of groundhogs. The groundhogs used in America, the Marmota monax, only range in North America; in Russia, the hedgehog is a widespread woodland animal, having much forest and cultural lore. North American groundhogs in Russian zooparks usually sleep through the 2 February holiday, given the longer Russian winters.

2 February 2015

Sputnik International


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