The starving lions Kandaka and Mansour were only skin over bones at the Al-Qarashi Family Park in Khartoum. Four months later, their health has improved a lot, says veterinarian Amir Khalil from the animal welfare organization Four Paws.
The pictures of extremely skinny lions at a zoo in Sudan went viral in January after animal rights advocate Osman Salih posted them on Facebook. There had been confusion over who should feed the animals, the zoo owner or the government, which led to no one feeding them in January.
Khalil and his team went to Sudan to treat the animals in January. They imported special minerals and vitamins from Holland for the lions.
“If pictures were shocking, the reality was even harder than the pictures,” Khalil tells The Animal Reader. Their surviving chance was less than 5%, now it’s over 95%, he says. But more needs to be done. The animals need more space.
“The cages are tiny at the zoo, and this place is at conflict, so it’s not really an appropriate place for the animals long-term at all,” Khalil says. When the condition of the animals improves, he hopes the government in Sudan will agree to move the lions to a bigger place.
Khalil and his team are based in Austria and can’t travel to Sudan because of the pandemic. At the moment, three volunteers are looking after Kandaka and Mansour.
Watch the interview we had with Amir Khalil, where he talks about the lions Kandaka and Mansour and the hyena who lost her two babies at the Sudan zoo.