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The New Arab & agencies

Zoo animals affected by crippling Gaza siege evacuated to Jordan

Gaza has been besieged since 2007 [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 8 April, 2019

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Dozens of animals from the Gaza Strip have been transported to Jordan as the humanitarian situation in the blockaded enclave worsens.
Dozens of neglected animals were evacuated from a ramshackle Gaza zoo on Sunday in the fourth and largest such rescue mission of its kind in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Vets and volunteers from Four Paws International transported some 40 animals into Israel from the zoo, neglected as a result of the deadly blockade, in the southern town of Rafah.

The animals, including lions, foxes, monkeys, pelicans, wolves and ostriches, will be resettled in sanctuaries in Jordan and South Africa.

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 Hamas came to power there in 2007.

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

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

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 organisation to speed up the evacuation process.

International animal welfare group Four Paws International has carried out four rescue operations and has sent numerous medical missions to treat animals and birds in Gaza.

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