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Abandoned Ukrainian lion cubs are now safe at the Polish zoo.

By: Ethan & Connie Cao

Have you ever heard about the war in Ukraine? In Ukraine, four abandoned lion cubs and one black leopard cub escaped and found their way to safety in Poland.

While waiting for transportation to Europe and the United States, they are being safely housed at the Poznań Zoo in Poland. Although the cubs are now safe, the obstacles they encountered along their journey to Poland were a common problem for wild animals to be kept as exotic pets.

What is the exotic pet trade? It is where people trade exotic pets as a business. An exotic pet is a pet that is supposed to be kept as a pet but not a domestic one. This is a problem in Ukraine since the war has forced many people to flee and leave their pets behind.

“An estimated 200 lions live in private homes [in Ukraine] and as the war rages on, they face increasingly grim outcomes,” said Meredith Whitney, wildlife rescue program manager at the IFAW. Those 4 cubs were abandoned. “We were thrilled to be able to offer these cubs a … habitat together and hope to welcome them home soon,” said Tammy Thies, founder and executive director of the Wildcat Sanctuary in Minnesota.

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