The wall of water released by the Monday explosion at the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam over the Dnipro River has not just flooded the homes of thousands of people of their homes, but has affected an untold number of wild and domestic animals as well.

The Monday morning attack and downstream flooding will probably force 10-20,000 people and their livestock and pets out from where they live, news reports have said.

An estimate given by Ukraine’s Emergency Situations Ministry said the water release could create a wave 4.8 meters high and 5 kilometers wide, moving at 24 kilometers an hour along a 90-kilometers stretch of river.

People in Kherson’s industrial and low-lying Neftegavan district spotted a beaver making it way down a sidewalk, likely after rising waters had forced it out of its home somewhere in the hundreds of square kilometers of marsh that make up the Dnipro River delta near the city of Kherson.

Swathes of low-lying protected land lie on both the Russian and Ukrainian controlled sides of the Dnipro, Europe’s fourth-longest river. Partially or heavily flooded reserves along the flood path included the Bobrove Ozero (Beaver Lake) nature preserve, the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve and the Nyzn’odniprovs’skyy National Park.

Ukraine’s biggest waterway, the Dnipro River and its banks are built up in some locations but remain undeveloped elsewhere, with about half the river’s swampier shores visited rarely by people, aside from fishermen or hunters.

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An explosion in the city of Kryvyi Rig, the hometown of President Zelensky in the central Dnipropetrovsk region, damaged homes, farm buildings and solar panels.

Many animals were drowned while other wildlife made its way to high ground. Ukrainian media widely published an image of a young stag shivering alongside a village road, after people had pulled it from the rising water, downstream from the broken dam.

Possibly worst-hit was the privately-run petting zoo Kazkova Dibrova in the town of Nova Kakhovka, which is adjacent to the demolished dam, where advancing waters flooded into animal enclosures. The zoo’s website said exhibits included monkeys, porcupines, nutria, tortoises, hamsters, goats and racoons, some 60 animals in all. The local Radio Roks station reported that all animals inside had drowned.

Mayor Vladimir Kovalenko told local media that rescue teams were trying to save at least some of the animals that were thought to still be alive. Kovalenko said that military units were jamming local mobile phone communications which was complicating the rescue effort. High water levels had forced 300 families out of their homes in the town, he said.

Some animals took well to the flooding. A flock of white swans was spotted paddling across the main square of the city of Kakhovka.

Nearer to the river, people fleeing from flooded homes were carrying their pets to safety. Someone filmed a policeman saving a dog that was apparently too tired to make its way to dry land.

Ukrainian military photographers deployed to the scene spotted farm animals locked in a manger or tied to a field, and in the path of rising waters.

The city of Mykolaiv also released animal rescue photographs:

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