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FOUR PAWS Conducts Veterinary Check-Up in Gaza Zoo


International animal welfare organisation seeks best possible solution for 15 animals of Khan Younis Zoo


A FOUR PAWS team was back in Gaza over the weekend. This time, the mission was to evaluate the health of 15 animals and secure the enclosures at Khan Younis Zoo. Laziz, the last remaining captive tiger in Gaza, along with monkeys, long-legged buzzards, emu, deer, turtles and porcupines, are still living under devastating conditions. The international animal welfare organization has gathered important information and are evaluating the best possible solution for all animals at the zoo.


Last week, the FOUR PAWS team, headed by Dr. Amir Khalil, arrived at Khan Younis Zoo. The team stayed in Gaza for several days to provide urgently needed medical assistance and assess the animals and their enclosures. Dr. Amir Khalil stated, “Both the animals welfare aspect and the animal managing standards in the zoo of Khan Younis are very bad! One of the accompanying journalists was even scratched by a monkey because its enclosure was poorly erected – the second fence was just missing!”


A medical examination of the animals revealed that one of five monkeys is pregnant and is suffering from coughing. Three other monkeys were sedated and treated. Their blood was examined and they received some vitamins and vaccinations.


Except for the coughing monkey and a limping emu, health conditions of the other animals seem to be good, despite their dilapidated living conditions. Cages remain extremely small, in disrepair and polluted with debris, while in addition, the animals suffer from inadequate and inconsistent access to clean water. Dr. Khalil added, “To improve the keeping conditions in Khan Younis, minor improvement goals have been set, such as installing enrichment tools for the animals”.


Thanks to previous food distributions conducted by FOUR PAWS, Laziz the tiger looks well fed and seemed to have recovered well over the last couple of months. The tiger was preliminarily checked and his health condition appeared to be stable.


The FOUR PAWS team also checked the security of all enclosures to assess safety standards for both animals and people living nearby. This was a priority because, in the worst case scenario, if one of the wild animals escapes and runs free, the staff of the zoo and local residence could end up in danger.


As mentioned in previous mission to Gaza, Khan Younis Zoo has been suffering from lack of funds. The owner, to attract more visitors and increase income, had even been displaying dead and mummified animals in their enclosures. This grotesque situation has aided the zoo’s nickname “the world’s worst zoo” in the eyes of the public and media. The owner is now cooperating with FOUR PAWS to help improve the situation.