The animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS rescued 47 animals from the neglected zoo Rafah in Gaza. They transferred five lions, a hyena, monkeys, wolves, porcupines, foxes, cats, dogs, emus ostriches and squirrels to a better home. This was one of the biggest operations of the organization.
Most of the animals were brought to animal sanctuaries in Jordan. Two lions were flown to a big cat refuge in South Africa where they’ll get the medical care they need.
A team of veterinarians and wildlife experts worked out a plan from sedating the animals to the logistics of such a large transfer. With the help of the owner of the zoo and the authorities involved they were able to successfully move the animals. “It was impressive to see how Palestine, Israel and Jordan worked together for the animals”, says FOUR PAWS veterinarian and Head of Mission Amir Khalil.
One of the reasons FOUR PAWS felt a need to act quickly is the brutal decisions the owner of the zoo had made, to declaw a lion. The beginning of this year the owner said he would put more lions through the cruel procedure so kids could hug the animals and he could get more customers. This caused outrage in the world and more than 150 thousand people signed a petition to close the zoo. FOUR PAWS knew it had to do something to save these animals from a life in pain.
Transporting so many animals safely is expensive The American businessman Eric S. Margolis and the French animal welfare organization Fondation 30 Million d’Amis supported the mission with large donations.
Because of their tough schedule and the large amount of animals they were transporting, it was not possible to catch the birds and take them with. Let’s hope the owner of the zoo takes good care of the last animals left behind in the zoo.
Pictures from the rescue. All pictures are from FOUR PAWS/Bogdan Baraghin.