Animals are starving in zoos in Lebanon, they need new homes

A lion is seen inside a cage at a zoo in Hazmieh, Lebanon, photo: Reuters/Issam Abdallah
A lion is seen inside a cage at a zoo in Hazmieh, Lebanon, photo: Reuters/Issam Abdallah

“At this point, they are not really lions,” Jason Mier, director of Animals Lebanon, told Reuters about the starving lions at a zoo in the city of Hazmieh in Lebanon. “They are just two animals who have given up on life and are lying here.”

“So we are in southern Lebanon, this is one of the last five remaining zoos in the country, but sadly all the zoos in the country are in incredibly poor condition,” Mier said. “It is very sad, here (at the zoo) we have two adult lions, and the male is maybe half the weight which he should be.”

The cages are very small. “There is no enrichment, there is nothing, no platform for them to get up on, there is no water, there is no food,” he added.

Lebanon has five zoos, where all animals are starving. There are no financial resources to feed them as the country is going through one of its worst economic crises in decades.

Animal Lebanon tries to find homes for the animals in sanctuaries and zoos abroad. So far, they have relocated about 15 lions and tigers.

In the coming weeks, two bears are headed to the United States, and the rescue organization hopes to send three more lions either there or to South Africa.

The organization is trying to prevent what happened in zoos in war zones like Syria, Yemen and Iraq. “The zoos collapse, and animals suffer, and they either die in their cages, or you send them to sanctuaries,” Mier said.

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