Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Animals abandoned in Mosul zoo given new home in Jordan shelter

Animals abandoned in Mosul zoo given new home in Jordan shelter

April 12, 2017 (NRT English)

AMMAN — The only two surviving animals in Mosul's zoo arrived at their sanctuary in Jordan, after a long journey out of Iraq.
Lola the bear and Simba the lion lived in a once-peaceful animal park that has been destroyed by months of fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Mosul.
The two animals were rescued by Four Paws International, an animal welfare group, and taken on an arduous journey to Jordan. After spending 12 days traveling and waiting at the Iraq border to process their paperwork, the animals arrived at the Jordan shelter. Hesitant at first to leave their travel crates, the psychological scars of war and sense of fear was evident on the animals. When Lola eventually stepped out in to her new enclosure, she spotted an apple on a tree branch and takes a bite - a sure sign of good things to come.

"The animals that came here today were in Mosul, they were there during the war (and spent) 60 days without food or water. All the animals in the Mosul Zoo have died, these are the final two survivors, and they were at the brink of death. We took care of their rehabilitation and their nutrition over the past two months," said veterinarian at Four Paws Amir Khalil, who oversaw the transportation of the animals from the zoo to their new home. Lola led a very different life back in Mosul, holed up in a tiny, dirty cage where she was so malnourished, it is a wonder she is still alive.
With the help of Four Paws, she is now looking much healthier.

"Their health is much better than it was, they were at the brink of death. Now they are able to move, they have gained weight. Physically, they are doing better. Psychologically, there was sound of gunfire and weapon launchers, the animals did not understand. Humans have the ability to flee during war, or the army can transport them to tents," added Khalil. The other survivor is Simba the lion, who was apprehensive about coming out of his crate - not a usual trait in the majestic lion but after months of war in Mosul, the damage is clear with the look in his eyes.

"Many cases, if there are natural disasters, or things like this, like a war, is that of course it's a really big impact on humans, but the animals are many times, they are forgotten, and we are trying to give this picture back to the world, that also animals are suffering during the war, and we are trying to help these animals. Of course it is really bad for the humans, but we want to give also the other picture of the story," said Juno Fanzine, who is looking after the animals on behalf of Four Paws.
Simba nearly starved to death back in Mosul, had it not been for donations from locals who lived near the zoo and a volunteer-led animal rights group, who came to feed him.
People living nearby said they had been bringing leftovers to animals, but it was not enough as many people struggled to find food of their own.

But now Simba has a new home and that means new hope, though it may take time for him to settle in to his new surroundings. The rehabilitation program at the centre will involve hand-feeding them through the fence, hoping to nurse them back to good health. After an adaptation period, they will be transported to larger enclosures. And Four Paws are optimistic that the animals will thrive in their new environment.

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