Three lions neglected at Yemeni Zoo in 'critical condition'

Three lions neglected at Yemeni Zoo fed only 'once a week'
2 min read
21 July, 2021
Campaigners said the three lions were 'victims of war and need help now'.
The lions are only fed once a week [Getty-file photo]

Three lions in a Yemeni zoo are starving to death amid the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in the country, according to reports. 

Ward, Frence and Moklees are in "critical condition" at Sanaa Zoo as keepers do not have enough food to sustain them, reported the MailOnline, with the three lions being fed just once a week, according to campaigners

Animal welfare organisations are unable to rescue the lions as it is "too much risk to their personnel's lives", so the creatures are stuck living in an enclosure that smells like "death" according to campaigners. 

"They are depressed," said one campaigner, Diane Housel from Germany. "You can see it in their eyes, you see it in the videos and behaviour. They are afraid, scared and hungry." 

Housel and UK campaigner, Sally Bunting, have donated their own money to support the creatures and urged people to donate to their non-profit organisation, Friends of Yemen Zoos.

"The zoo wants help, we do not want to put the blame on them, rather help them ease some of the suffering of the animals," added Housel. 

Around 700 animals live at Sanaa zoo, including lions who are healthier than Ward, Frence and Moklees. They are put "out for display" as the site is still open to visitors, reported MailOnline.  

Staff are not paid, but still come to the zoo every day to look after the animals. 

"Sanaa has seen some of the worse fighting and the animals cannot escape. They are victims of war and need help now," said Housel. 

Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since 2014, when the Houthis swept across much of the north and seized the capital, Sanaa, forcing the internationally recognised government into exile. 

UNICEF has called Yemen the "worst humanitarian crisis in the world" with 20.7 million people - 71 percent of the total population - in need of humanitarian assistance.