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Rescue groups working to evacuate animals in Ukraine

From household pets to zoo animals, efforts are underway to bring animals in the war-torn country to safety.
Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
Animal keeper Kirilo Trantin comforts an elephant at the Kiev Zoo in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 1. 2022. Russian strikes pounded the central square in Ukraine’s second-largest city and other civilian targets, and a 40-mile convoy of tanks and other vehicles threatened the capital. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As Russia continues its attack on Ukraine, the International Organization for Migration says refugees fleeing have now reached 1.2 million. 

But as Ukrainians seek safety, what about their pets and animals in the area? Rescue groups are working hard to get them out of the war-torn country.

PETA Germany says it has teams on the ground working to rescue as many animals as they can alongside animal groups Viva! Poland and White Paw.

A mission Thursday night is said to have brought 150 dogs and cats from Ukraine to safety in Poland.

"Facing grave danger, the organization and animal group Viva! Poland rescued nearly 100 hungry cats and dogs, many of whom were very sick. The animals made it across the Polish border, and now they’re being treated by veterinarians," PETA Germany wrote.

Rescue teams are also delivering food and other supplies to be distributed across the country.

But household pets aren't the only ones in need of rescue. Officials from Zoo Poznań in Poland told Newsweek on Thursday that workers were waiting at the border for animals from a sanctuary in Kyiv to arrive.

"We are waiting on the Polish-Ukrainian border for the arrival of a transport of animals evacuated from the Save Wild Fund animal sanctuary near Kyiv ... We cannot enter the territory of Ukraine, we are waiting for the arrival of transport to the border," a spokesperson from the Zoological Garden told the outlet.

In Facebook posts, tigers and lions could be seen being transported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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