Magnolia and Uvalisa are two young two-year-old tigresses, taken in at the Refuge de l’Arche after the start of the war in Ukraine. At that time, they served as photographic models and were exploited. Armelle Lagarde, deputy director of the Refuge de l’Arche, explains that an illegal parallel trade has developed because in times of war, these animals represent money. Repatriating animals from Ukraine is therefore essential to prevent animals from being abused and traumatized: “There’s a lot of trauma. Many animals were dying of hunger and thirst. In some structures, they were abandoned”.
“We are really very happy to welcome them”
After a year of transit in Poland, Magnolia and Uvalisa are welcomed by the members of the association after 24 hours on the road. “We are really very, very happy to welcome them because it was a very long procedure. To welcome these animals from Ukraine, in Poland, since there is a transit zone, you already need a reception structure. Poznan Zoo is home to these animals. But afterwards, to be able to welcome other animals from Ukraine, you have to be able to make room. We positioned ourselves because we had this possibility”, adds Armelle Lagarde.
When they arrived at the refuge, the tigresses were very stressed about their new living environment. The priority for the Refuge de l’Arche is, first of all, to reassure and appease them. “The association, which has existed for almost 50 years, has always been very committed to rescuing animals, animals that are in difficulty, to bringing them a peaceful life in the shelter. In times of war, humans already have enough to do for their own lives, human misery leads to the misery of animals, so it was important that we could welcome them into our home.” ends Armelle Lagarde.