While many zoos in the world are home to healthy, happy animals with comfortable habitats and professional care, there are sadly zoos like the Khan Younis Zoo in Gaza. This desolate, hellish place has been dubbed the worst zoo in the world. Here, the few animals that have survived are starving and in dire need of medical care.
The place is truly nightmarish, with the bodies of dead animals still in their enclosures. Worse still is that some of them have been embalmed with rudimentary skill by the zoo”s owner, as though the thought of displaying animals that died of neglect seemed like a good idea.
Luckily, there is some hope. Animal rescue organization Four Paws has sent an emergency team to Khan Younis led by Dr. Amir Khalil. The team is providing emergency care to the surviving animals.
Four Paws plans to stay in Gaza for three months.
The survivors of the nightmarish zoo include a llama, a baboon, a dog, several cats, a tiger, and a lioness. All are suffering from a variety of health problems that are exacerbated by malnutrition and neglect.
Dr. Khalil and his team will be administering veterinary care, food, and water to the animals. Food deliveries will be made every week, as the zoo has no refrigerators. They”ll also be working with the local authorities on a permanent home for the animals, and will continue to provide aid throughout the process.
The team brings in the lioness.
She”s in bad shape, her tongue lolling out from starvation and dehydration.
Although Gaza is a small place, there are currently about 40 big cats there almost all of which are products of wild animal smuggling. Both the lioness and the tiger at Khan Younis were smuggled in as cubs, meaning they”ve endured a lifetime of hardship in that hellish place.
This also isn”t the first time Four Paws has been in Gaza to rescue animals. In September 2014, they rescued three lions from the damaged Al-Bisan Zoo and transferred them to a sanctuary in Jordan. Currently, Four Paws is working with several organizations to find new, safe homes for big cats, which (given the unrest in the region and the political and legal boundaries) is no easy task.
(via Four Paws, Globe Newswire)
Four Paws is partnered with French animal welfare organization 30 Million Friends for this operation, but they”re still in need of funding and supplies. The good news is that you can help them ensure that these animals live the rest of their lives in health and happiness.
Check out Four Paws” website for more information, and consider making a donation to help not only the animals of Khan Younis, but animals all around the world. You can also sign a petition to make sure the zoo is closed down to prevent further atrocities.