Lions, other animals to be saved from Gaza zoo: welfare group

Palestinian children look through the bars of a cage at a lion at Rafah Zoo in southern Gaza. (AFP)
Updated 20 March 2019
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Lions, other animals to be saved from Gaza zoo: welfare group

  • The animals would be taken out of a zoo in the Palestinian enclave and relocated to sanctuaries in Jordan next week
  • Rafah Zoo in southern Gaza confirmed the agreement, saying they weren’t receiving any funds for the animals

GAZA CITY: Forty animals including five lions are to be rescued from squalid conditions in the Gaza Strip, an animal welfare group said Wednesday.
The animals would be taken out of a zoo in the Palestinian enclave and relocated to sanctuaries in Jordan next week, the Four Paws organization said.
Among the other animals to be taken out are a hyena, monkeys, wolves and porcupines, the organization said in a statement.
Rafah Zoo in southern Gaza confirmed the agreement, saying they weren’t receiving any funds for the animals and couldn’t provide proper care for them in the strip.
The zoo hit the headlines last month when the cash-strapped owner revealed he had declawed one of the lions there, so that customers could pay to play with her.
The organization condemned the declawing, with almost 150,000 people signing a petition against the treatment.
The animals would be treated and sedated, before being taken through Israel into Jordan, Four Paws said.
“For far too long, the animals of Rafah Zoo have had to live under unimaginably dreadful conditions,” said Four Paws veterinarian Amir Khalil.
“We are happy to finally put an end to this horror,” he said in the statement.
The animal welfare group has previously evacuated two other zoos in Gaza, where desperate poverty often leaves owners unable to assure adequate conditions.
Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip for more than a decade, measures it says are necessary to isolate the enclave’s Islamist rulers Hamas.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.
In 2016, Four Paws helped facilitate the transfer of the sole tiger in the Gaza Strip, eventually relocating it to South Africa.
The organization in 2017 rescued a lion and a bear from a zoo in Mosul in northern Iraq, a former stronghold of the Daesh group.


Thousands protest against Algeria’s ruling elite

Updated 5 min 26 sec ago
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Thousands protest against Algeria’s ruling elite

  • President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down after 20 years in power this month
  • “The system must go” and “We are fed up with you,” read banners held up by protesters in central Algiers

ALGIERS: Thousands of protesters demanding the departure of Algeria’s ruling elite rallied in Algiers for a tenth Friday.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down after 20 years in power this month, bowing to pressure from the army and weeks of demonstrations mainly by young people seeking change.
“The system must go” and “We are fed up with you,” read banners held up by protesters in central Algiers.
The protests, which began on Feb. 22 and have been largely peaceful, have continued as many want the removal of an elite that has governed Algeria since independence from France in 1962 and the prosecution of people they see as corrupt.
Bouteflika has been replaced by Abdelkader Bensalah, head of the upper house of parliament, as interim president for 90 days until a presidential election on July 4.
Algeria’s wealthiest businessman and four other billionaires close to Bouteflika were arrested this week as part of an anti-graft investigation, state media said.
Algeria’s army chief Lt. General Ahmed Gaed Salah has said he expected members of the ruling elite to be prosecuted for corruption.
Salah intervened when Bouteflika sought to extend his fourth term, declaring him unfit for office in a bid to avoid prolonged turmoil.