More Than 40 Animals Rescued From Gaza Zoo of Sorrows

first_img In a “harrowing” mission almost derailed by border enclosures and escalating violence in the region, animal welfare organization Four Paws safely evacuated 47 animals from a notoriously neglected zoo in Rafah at the south of Gaza, which many have called the “Zoo of Sorrows.”The Rafah zoo made headlines in January after four lion cubs there froze to death due to the harsh weather and poor keeping conditions. That same month, a young lioness also had her claws removed with garden shears, causing global outrage.A sedated monkey at Rafah zoo in Gaza during the evacuation led by Four Paws animal welfare organization (Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / NurPhoto via Getty Images)The zoo’s owner Fathy Jomaa blamed the Israeli and Egyptian blockades of Gaza and bad economic conditions for the squalid conditions in the zoo, BBC News reported.“When we raise a cat for a week or a month we feel sad to lose it but what about suddenly losing animals that I have lived with for 20 years?” Jomaa told Reuters news agency.Pelicans at the Rafah zoo in the southern Gaza Strip, during the evacuation. (Photo Credit: Said Khatib / AFP / Getty Images)A team from Four Paws consisting of veterinarians and wildlife experts, transferred the 47 animals which included five lions, a hyena, several monkeys, wolves, porcupines, foxes, cats, dogs, emus, ostriches and squirrels on April 7.Most of the animals have been brought to Jordanian wildlife sanctuaries but two of the rescued lions were flown to South Africa. Both lions will live in species-appropriate enclosures and receive specialized veterinary care at Four Paws’ Big Cat Sanctuary LIONSROCK, according to a statement.A truck carrying crates containing animals leaves Gaza during the rescue mission led by Four Paws. (Photo Credit: Majdi Fathi / NurPhoto via Getty Images)After they were removed from the zoo, the animals were loaded into transport crates for an 186-mile journey to Jordan. When the team arrived at the Erez border crossing to Israel, the vehicles transporting the animals had to be changed so all crates were unloaded and re-loaded onto a new truck at the Israel-Gaza barrier. Flanked by the Israeli army, the journey to the Jordanian border continued.“The last few weeks have been very intense for our team and have brought our team to its limits,” said Dr. Amir Khalil, Four Paws veterinarian and head of the mission. “To examine and load almost 50 animals in just a few days was a huge challenge, but to save lives and provide better futures, it is all worth it.”In January, four cubs at the Rafah zoo died from the harsh cold weather and poor conditions. (Photo Credit: Mohamed Ibrahim / picture alliance via Getty Images)Four Paws has been active in Gaza since 2014 and has already evacuated and closed two zoos – Al-Bisan Zoo and Khan Younis Zoo – in the region. The Rafah zoo operation was largest rescue to date for the animal welfare organization.More on Control Looking for Exotic Pet Cat on the Loose in VirginiaRussia to Free 100 Orcas, Belugas Held in ‘Whale Jail’Rhino Poacher Killed by Elephant, Eaten By Lions in South Africa Stay on target Watch: Deputies Help Bear Family Rescue Cub Trapped in DumpsterWatch: Dog Rescued After Collapsing From Heatstroke During Hike last_img read more

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