For the first time in history, Safari Park Dvůr Králové will host South African penguins. He is preparing a great pavilion for them

So how is Kyiv?
He’s fine and his mother is great. kyiv is very lively, her birth weight was about 33 kilograms, now it exceeds 50 kilograms. This adds almost a kilogram per day.

Jaroslav Haimy Hyjánek in the studio of Czech radio Hradec Králové

Who came up with his name?
It came from the director, when we immediately wanted to react to the situation which, as you all know, there are a lot of zoos in Ukraine. They are our partners, we have many joint breeding programs and animal exchanges. It was therefore automatic for us to support our colleagues.

We are one of the largest rhino breeders in the world. Almost 50 two-horned rhinos have already been born in our country, these are significant numbers.

Jaroslav Haimy Hyjánek, Zoological Director of Safari Park Dvůr Králové

How important is successful breeding for the birth of a baby rhino?
It is a great success, especially for this eastern subspecies of two-horned rhinoceros, of which there are only a few hundred in the world. And our safari park has been one of three breeding facilities in recent years where these rhinos breed in Europe. We have several successful projects to bring rhinos back to Africa. Thus, each cub represents a huge opportunity for us to continue breeding.

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When will visitors see Kyiv? He probably still lives in the background with his mother.
It’s hard to say because now he’s really withdrawn and slowly learning to get into the paddock. But the enclosure is not accessible to visitors, because rhinos, and especially bivalves, are very stressful animals. They don’t like company and they have to get used to it slowly. When a cub is born, it should be comfortable, it should not be stressed, and it should not get into stressful situations. In order to take advantage of the growth with his mother and we will gradually involve him in visitor traffic. In addition, we are currently preparing a major renovation of the rhino pavilion.
We are one of the largest rhino breeders in the world. Nearly 50 two-horned rhinos have already been born in our country. So those are big numbers. So when kyiv is seen, we will definitely spread the message.

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You have already spoken about the situation in zoos in Ukraine, with which you cooperate. You probably think a lot about your Ukrainian colleagues now.
Immediately after the Russian aggression, after the attack on the Ukrainian country, we built up a collection of equipment, which went to the Polish-Ukrainian border. We have supported all local zoos with a collection managed by Prague Zoo, where more than three million crowns have already been collected. Equipment and food were purchased and everything was sent directly to the zoos in Mykolaiv and Kharkov, which are the most affected by the bombings, mainly air raids. The worst situation is probably in the eco-park of the Kharkiv region, because it is right on the battle line. We are also prepared to evacuate animals there. Some caregivers were also shot while feeding the animals, so it’s a very sad story.

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So what happened to the eventual evacuation of the animals?
On the one hand, it went well, because they managed to find a place for their animals within the framework of cooperation between Ukrainian gardens. It was a larger group of monkeys, some large carnivores and other animals. The solidarity there is incredible. For example, the Kharkov zoo, which is also bad, can still help other animals. Because all transportation is a very demanding and risky business. Even the corridor through which the animals would travel to the Polish border is constantly bombarded. It is therefore really not easy to evacuate the animals.

What comes to mind when you hear such information?
You can’t believe it. If someone had told me a month ago that WWII could essentially repeat itself here. It’s just a tragedy. We experienced something that happened in Yugoslavia, but that’s something else. Colleagues we met and dealt with giraffe transports and animal exchanges are shot, the zoo is destroyed.

Prague Zoo has created a collection to help breeding facilities threatened by war in Ukraine, and other Czech and Slovak zoos have joined in its support.

Safari Park also helps a lot of people who came to us from Ukraine.
This help is very important, because it is mostly women with children or elderly people, their men are fighting. We can provide housing for refugees and some will even get jobs. The children have started going to school, they have new friends. We go to the zoo, see how the children smile at these elephants and giraffes here. Just the husband.

I would like to emphasize your words that aid is really important.
We already employ several refugees, we have also offered accommodation, as we have so-called service apartments or apartments for temporary workers. We have offered them to several mothers with children, they already live with us. They can get a job as a maid or in the kitchen. We come up against a small language barrier, but because of Ukrainian and Czech, I think it will soon be overcome.

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Let’s move on to something even happier at the end.
I think our main attraction, which we all look forward to, is the South African penguins. Because we are finishing a new pavilion and a large open penguin exhibition. For the first time in history, Safari Park Dvůr Králové will host penguins. The inauguration of their pavilion should take place during the second half of June. So I hope everyone will enjoy it.

And another great event is preparing for you.
As every year, it will be a Safari race, which will take place on Saturday April 9th. It’s not just about sports, but also about rescuing and supporting endangered species. This year they will race for hot zebras, which are an endangered subspecies living only in northern Uganda. Our animal park is the leader of zoos in this breeding. All proceeds from the Safari Run will go to the Warmed Up Zebra Rescue Project.

Jaroslav Haimy Hyjánek in the studio of Czech radio Hradec Králové

Our guest was Safari Park Zoological Director Dvůr Králové Jaroslav Haimy Hyjánek.

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