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A Palestinian worker carries a monkey at a zoo in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, during the evacu

Dozens of neglected animals evacuated from Gaza zoo

Members of animal welfare group - Four Paws International - transport at least 40 animals into Israel from the Rafah zoo to be resettled in sanctuaries in Jordan and South Africa; animals suffered from a combination of neglect and lack of resources

Dozens of neglected animals were evacuated from a ramshackle Gaza zoo on Sunday in the fourth and largest such rescue mission in the Palestinian enclave.

 

 

Vets and volunteers from Four Paws International animal welfare group transported some 40 animals into Israel from the zoo in the southern town of Rafah. The animals - including five lions, five monkeys, four ostriches, three peacocks, two wolves, a hyena, foxes, porcupines and 10 squirrels - will be resettled in sanctuaries in Jordan and South Africa.

 

A Palestinian worker carries a monkey at a zoo in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, during the evacu
A Palestinian worker carries a monkey at a zoo in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, during the evacu

 

"The zoo has been in a bad situation in recent years due to economic and political turmoil," said Amir Khalil, a veterinarian from the Vienna-based organization. "Most of the animals had a sort of traumatization."

 

Amir Khalil, a veterinarian with the international animal welfare charity "Four Paws" walks in front of cages containing animals at a zoo in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, during the evacuation
Amir Khalil, a veterinarian with the international animal welfare charity "Four Paws" walks in front of cages containing animals at a zoo in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, during the evacuation

Many of the animals were smuggled into Gaza via tunnels beneath the southern border with Egypt, which along with Israel has blockaded the territory since the Hamas militant group seized power there in 2007, and has continued launching rocket attacks on Israeli territory ever since.

 

Animals kept in captivity have suffered from a combination of neglect and lack of resources on the part of zookeepers.

 

A Palestinian worker carries a Heron (Egretta Intermedia) at a zoo in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, during the evacuation
A Palestinian worker carries a Heron (Egretta Intermedia) at a zoo in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, during the evacuation

 

Some died of cold and hunger in makeshift zoos as keepers failed to provide adequate care, while others were killed during the 50-day war in 2014.

 

Uri Madar, agriculture coordinator for the Israeli body responsible for the crossings with the Gaza Strip, said COGAT "sees this evacuation as a mission of ethics, and will continue working in support of animal welfare in the Gaza Strip."

 

Members of the international animal welfare charity "Four Paws" carry a sedated monkey at a zoo in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, during the evacuation
Members of the international animal welfare charity "Four Paws" carry a sedated monkey at a zoo in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, during the evacuation

In January, four lion cubs died in the Rafah zoo. The owner later released grisly footage showing a lioness being declawed, in an apparent effort to push the organization to speed up the evacuation process. The owner was compensated for the animals, but the amount paid has not been publicized. There are no animals left at the zoo following the evacuation.

 

Members of the international animal welfare charity "Four Paws" check on a sedated lion at a zoo in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 6, 2019, as they prepare to evacuate the animals
Members of the international animal welfare charity "Four Paws" check on a sedated lion at a zoo in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 6, 2019, as they prepare to evacuate the animals

Four Paws International has carried out four rescue operations and has sent numerous medical missions to treat animals and birds in Gaza. Two other zoos have closed since Four Paws removed their animals, while animals are still being held in poor conditions at three other zoos.

 

The latest evacuation was scheduled last month, but a round of cross-border violence between Israel and Gaza militants forced the organization postpone it.

 

Reuters contributed to this report

 


פרסום ראשון: 04.07.19, 21:18
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