A series of conflicts has made living in the war-torn Gaza Strip difficult for human and animal residents alike. When airstrikes and a lack of funds affected the Rafah Zoo, a man living in a refugee camp took the opportunity to purchase two lion cub siblings as pets for his children.
Of course, lions aren”t meant to be kept in such environments, not only for the safety of the humans around them but also for their own health and development.
They spent months living with the family, making headlines when photos of them posing with balls and playing with the children emerged.
Rescue organization Four Paws was notified of the less-than-ideal situation and stepped in for the lions” best interest.
Noticing how much larger the lions had already grown in the few months, the rescuers knew it was only a short matter of time before a dangerous situation for the residents became unavoidable.
It took weeks and weeks of negotiating with their owner, but they were finally able to bring the cuties to their facility.
Unfortunately, they had already suffered damage from the ignorance of their former caretakers.
They were both diagnosed with skin disease, and Mona was showing signs of being especially weakened and apathetic.
She also had a large growth on the back of her head, likely caused by swelling after a stroke.
They almost faced another setback during their journey when the border of Israel was unexpectedly closed, but they were able to finally make it to Jordan, where the cubs received a warm welcome.
They now spend their days at a quarantine center, and they will soon head to a more natural habitat in Al Ma”wa Wildlife Sanctuary”s large enclosure.
Their rescuers renamed the sweet siblings Shalom and Salaam in an effort to encourage peace at their former home.
Unfortunately, these aren”t the only big cats living in the troubled territory.
In fact, according to Four Paws, residents adopting exotic big cats as pets is a shockingly large issue for such a small area.
Adult big cats smuggled into the territory from Egypt produce several cubs like these, all of them subjected to a life inside either a makeshift zoo or an uneducated home.
Thankfully, these two never have to worry about going back to that life.
They are sticking as close together as possible while they wait for their new forever home.
Their amazing bond kept them safe despite every adversity they faced, and there”s no doubt that will continue in the more natural habitat.
(via The Dodo)
You can find more information on this sweet pair and others just like them over on the Four Paws website. You can also help save the lives of even more adorable animals by making a donation and spreading their amazing message.
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