Russian news agency TASS falsely claims there is no zoo near Kakhovka dam in Ukraine

By: Ankita Kulkarni
June 12 2023

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Russian news agency TASS falsely claims there is no zoo near Kakhovka dam in Ukraine


The Verdict False

The Kazkova Dibrova zoo can be geolocated near the Kakhovka dam. Russian-installed mayor of Nova Kakhovka city has acknowledged its existence as well.

Claim ID 968fab67

On June 6, the Kakhovka dam in the Russia-controlled region of south Ukraine collapsed. Both sides are blaming each other for destroying the dam, which lies on the Dnipro River, about 20 miles east of the city of Kherson, which is currently under Russia's occupation.

Several media houses reported that the flooding has led to the death of the animal population inside Kazkova Dibrova Zoo, located near the dam, in the city of Nova Kakhovka. However, the Russian state-owned news agency TASS published a report on June 7 refuting the claim. The report titled “Novaya Kakhovka refutes Ukrainian media reports about alleged deaths of zoo animals” said that “a spokesperson for the city’s emergencies services” told the news agency that "No animals were killed, because our city (Nova Kakhovka) has no zoo." TASS, however, later published another report, originally i n Russain, the same day acknowledging the existence of the zoo near the dam though still maintaining that no animals were killed there. The report is titled, “The mayor of Nova Kakhovka said that animals from the city zoo were taken out in 2022 (translated from Russian).” However, many other websites republished TASS’ first report amplifying th e claim that Nova Kakhovka did not have a zoo and hence no animals were killed in the flooding.

However, the claim that there is no zoo near the Kakhovka dam is false.

In Fact
Logically Facts geolocated the Kakhovka dam on Google Maps; the Kazkova Dibrova Zoo can be spotted in the west direction of the dam on the banks of the Dnipro River on the satellite images. We also found some pictures on Google street view where one can see birds inside an enclosure. 

Details on the travel guide website, 'Travel Inclusive Ukraine,' states that Kazkova Dibrova, which roughly translates to ‘Fairytale Dibrova,’ is a family recreation center that was set up in the mid-1990s. It notes that the park also has a small zoo that houses mouflons, peacocks, owls, wild geese, and many other animals. 

On its Facebook page, Kazkova Dibrova is described as an ‘Amusement and theme park’ located in Nova Kakhovka in Ukraine. Several images of the park and animals on the account predate the dam collapse and even the Russian-Ukriane war.

A post on June 7 from the Facebook page noted that the park was completely flooded after the collapse of the Kakhovka dam, and about 300 animals were dead. This claim was, however, refuted by the Russian side. A Reuters report published on June 7, 2023, quoted Vladimir Leontyev, the Russian-installed mayor of Nova Kakhovka, saying the zoo's animals had been evacuated in 2022. “Actually, the situation is that last year all the animals were evacuated and moved away from Kazkova Dibrova…There was nobody left there, not a single animal," Leontyev told Reuters. However, the outlet said it could not independently verify the mayor’s assertion.

In a post on June 8, the administration of Kazkova Dibrova amusement park clarified that not all the animals were dead, as "some animals were not on the territory of Dibrova, but were at home in Vala. That's why they stayed alive."

While Logically Facts could not independently verify the number of animals that died in the flood near the Kakhovka dam, it would be false and inaccurate to state that "there is no zoo in the area."

The Verdict
The city of Novaya Kakhovka hosts a zoo at the Kazkova Dibrovazoo amusement park. The zoo lies towards the west of the Kakhovka dam. Claims that there is no zoo near the dam are false and not supported by evidence. 

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