At an impoverished, abandoned zoo in Sudan’s capital, the park’s few remaining lions are starving in rusted cages — their ribs sticking out, eyes glassy and skin hanging, desperate for food and water.
The unsettling images, shared Saturday on social media by a local animal rights advocate, Osman Salih, drew compassioned responses from thousands around the world.
With the staff at the extremely poor Al-Qurashi Park, as the zoo in Khartoum is known, unable to feed and look after the animals, many have died or were evacuated. Only three skeletal lions, including a lioness, remain at the zoo.
Salih contacted the park who told him that the wildlife police were responsible for the lions. “They were constantly preparing their food but stopped for a while,” he wrote on Facebook.
“The park holds the wildlife police directly responsible for the deteriorating condition of the lions, and stated that the income of the park for a month is not enough to feed one lion for a week,” he continued.
Locals concerned about the fate of the lions flocked to help recently, bringing food and medical items, despite the economic crisis gripping the country. Price hikes and economic hardship in the country have caused people and animals to suffer.
“Many international organizations are willing to help the lions, including an emergency rescue group expected in Sudan soon,” Salih said.
While many abroad have tried to donate via crowdfunding sites, Salih noted that United States sanctions on Sudan have prevented the zoo from receiving funds through popular platforms, such as GoFundMe. There was no immediate response from GoFundMe.
“Despite all of this, the marathon of recovery, healing and redevelopment … continues,” Salih, wrote on Facebook.
On Wednesday, he shared a photograph of the remaining lioness after volunteers had brought food, saying she was making ‘beautiful progress.’