In St. Petersburg, there are about a dozen shelters where dogs and cats left homeless are kept. And only one, where wild animals are taken, is “Syrin”. Previously, there was a pickup station in its place. On it lived foxes, raccoons and even a bear - animals on which hunters drag their dogs. A year ago, city zoodefenders bought animals, and set up a shelter on the site of the station, where they adapt and treat those animals that cannot survive on their own in the wild. After that, they are released into the wild. The correspondent and photographer Life around visited the "Sirin" and talked with his volunteers and employees about animal activism and problems in the city.
On this territory, a fidelity for dogs, "Fidelity," was operating, and nearby was a pick-up station, which finally closed only in the summer. The charity fund "Fidelity" kindly offered its territory to "Sirin", and we, in turn, received animals with a graffiti. The one-eyed wolf Yarik from Pyatigorsk, 3 foxes, 3 raccoon dogs, a bear, a lynx with a stab wound of the hind paw - now heal and release it. There are several birds: 2 buzzards, 3 eared owls, 3 common tawny owls, common fowl, hawk falcon, 3 white storks, goshawk, 2 gulls, jackdaw, rook, 15 gray crows and 22 pigeons.
We receive about 5 calls per week. But the majority manages to be solved not by placing the animal in a shelter, but simply sending it to a veterinary clinic, and then to overexposure. And our main work is reintroduction (return to nature). Those whom it is impossible to return, contain or attach.
The main problem is finding people. Permanent conscious volunteers not only to work in a shelter, but to help in catching, to create a site. I am a fan of the British show "SOS Wildlife of Britain", they have a whole network of volunteers around the city, and when something urgent, they turn to those who are closer. But such a base needs to be created and worked out, and this, again, needs people.
24 years old, programmer
"It's hard to remember why I started going to animal shelters. As far as I remember, for me it was always such a thing to do, how to take old women across the street or give them a place on the tram. I don’t think I'm doing any kind of charity , I myself enjoy it a lot, it’s a good entertainment - to go out of town, to talk with animals. Sometimes you have to work hard, but such work is easy.
Unfortunately, there are few shelters, and they are clearly not enough for all animals that need help. In this regard, animals are in a disadvantaged position: the last thing they think about their problems. If the state and society at least occasionally recall homeless children, people with disabilities or lonely old people, then nothing comes to animals. And this despite the fact that people are the main source of their misfortunes, because all the shelter's pets are either wild animals crippled by people or abandoned pets. "
28 years old, courier
“Now it’s not very often possible to get to shelters because of work or some other business. Sometimes I go to orphanages, and I donate unnecessary things to the free market. At the shelter we mainly deal with walking animals, cleaning enclosures, and sometimes it’s difficult to say whether animals remember us. In any case, they rejoice at your arrival. "
25 years old, bicycle courier
“I went to volunteers for a relatively long time, back in 2005. Then I went to orphanages, volunteered in the organization“ Our Tomorrow ”, which is engaged in the socialization of children from orphanages and boarding schools. From about the same time, I participated in the movement“ Food instead bombs, ”also as a volunteer.
Somewhere in 2008, he switched to animal shelters, since approximately from the same 2005 he participated in the activities of animal protection groups in St. Petersburg. The first shelter was the Friend shelter. Homeless dogs are kept there. It was quite interesting to walk with dogs, play with them, train them on a leash - you socialize them. On the one hand, you enjoy communicating with animals, on the other hand, you help the shelter with cleaning and construction works, photographing and adding animals. Animals live closed in shelters, except for workers, they do not see other people. This all reduces the likelihood of attaching them in the end. The shelter always needs those who would be involved in the attachment of animals, help to photograph them, transport them, take part in some kind of actions like “distributing animals”, and search for food and feed. In general, a lot of things.
In 2010, my friends and I created the Vegan Club, which became a catalyst for this kind of volunteering. They made several charity concerts in support of the shelters - they gathered a rather motley audience, many became volunteers. Then I somehow decided to stir up the “One Day of Action in Support of Shelters”, dedicated to the International Day of Homeless Animals. Somewhere in a month, a call hung up to go to different shelters of the city, a small PR campaign was held at the level of social networks, I agreed, distributed the volunteers who signed up for this business. Some, seeing what and how, began to ride themselves after. In total, the number of those who drove with us at least once, according to my calculations, exceeded one thousand. I myself was in many shelters of the city: “Friend”, “Rzhevka”, “Ilyinka”, “Teremok”, “Ladybug”, “Sirin / Fidelity”, in the shelter on Torfyanaya, the shelter in Pavlovsk and some other more local and little ones. "
22 years old, courier
“The first time I went to the shelter last spring. I was interested in this initiative for a long time, but it was only then. I started to drive constantly in the fall. After several trips, the Dark Horse team invited me to join them. We made several big trips in one the shelter, gathered up to 40 people. After several such events, it was decided to split up and go to different shelters on the same day. I often go to the "Sirin", usually around 10 people with me. The composition is always almost the same, the guys know animals by name m, attached to them, many are already familiar with the shelter staff. Periodically, joined by new people who read about upcoming trips on the Internet. coordinates the trips through the Public.
I see in these trips a good opportunity to spend a day off not like a vegetable lying on a sofa or sitting out pants somewhere in a bar. To work physically in nature, not for superiors and directors, not to make someone rich, but to help people who help animals. I see this as a kind of protest against the philistine way of life. We ourselves want to do something that really makes sense. I believe that by helping someone, a person helps himself too. "
26 years old, meter installer
“In fact, I have little experience. I periodically try to go to different shelters, help there as much as I can. I went to the orphanage a couple of times, but this, it seems to me, is much more complicated and requires more time and responsibility. Everyone has their own reasons for "to become volunteers. Someone is doing this out of sympathy, someone wants to really change something, someone is so amazed with pride."
You can find out how to help the Sirin Shelter on their official page by contacting the administrators.
Photos: Egor Rogalyov