Yemen zoo struggling to provide animals with space and food 

Sanaa zoo in Yemen is struggling to provide animals with enough space and food
A lion looks from a gap in a metal wall of his enclosure at the Sanaa Zoo, Sanaa, Yemen December 19, 2022, credit: Reuters/Khaled Abdullah

Animals at Sanaa Zoo in Yemen don’t have enough space, and the zoo is struggling to provide them with adequate and sufficient food. In 2019, the zoo had 999 animals. Three years later, there are more than 1900 animals.

“We suffer a lot from the lack of enclosures. The shelters are now full of breeding animals. We suffer from lack of nourishment for the animals,” Fuad Al-Hersh, the zoo director, said.

The zoo is located in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, and has lions, tigers, bears, hyenas, monkeys, ostriches, crocodiles, birds and other animals. The zoo is operating on funding from the Sanaa municipality.

“We currently have 14 lion cubs. Some enclosures have six cubs living in them. This is dangerous for the zookeepers. They cannot enter the enclosures to clean them, distribute food and replenish drinking water,” Al-Hersh said.

He added that keeping too many animals in a cage is unsafe for the animals: “Sometimes a fight arises between them, which leads to the injury of some lions, and we face great difficulty in treating them or isolating them,” he added.

Al-Hersh said the zoo needs to build new enclosures and upgrade the old ones: “We are currently in need of enclosures and for extending the old enclosures due to the continued breeding of the animals. Also, we look forward to increasing the quantities of food to match the newborns and make up for the shortage.”

The zoo has been struggling for a while because the country has been in a civil war since 2014. Two years ago, four lions died due to severe food shortages and diseases.

The Sanid Organization for Nature Conservation in Yemen visited the zoo and listed 42 implementations for the establishment to improve the conditions for animals. The country has two other big zoos –Taiz Zoo and Ibb Zoo– which are also struggling to care for their animals.


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