IDF rescues abandoned pets, exotic birds and even a lion from Gaza

Nature and Parks Authority working with IDF to determine how and when to rescue the lion from Gaza safely.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Coverage of the Israel-Hamas war often focuses on humans affected by the conflict. Still, many of the IDF’s heroic efforts may go unnoticed, including the rescue of abandoned animals from Gaza.

Since the ground war in Gaza began, the IDF has rescued cats, dogs, parrots, owls, and even a neglected lion from the Gaza zoo.

Lieutenant Lihi Agiv, a communications officer in the 12th Division described rescuing a puppy while serving on the front lines.

Lt. Agiv told Ynet: “I was touring with the division commander when I noticed a skinny, scared little puppy that ran to us. She was shaking. I have a dog at home so I’m very sensitive to animals. I picked her up and took her with me.”

After Lieutenant Lihi fed the puppy and gave her water, she knew that Beit Hanoun was no place for such a vulnerable creature.

The puppy was sent to her new owner, and all of the soldiers gave her a warm welcome.

“As soon as I took her, all the soldiers wanted to pet her. People were so crazy about her that they gave her their food. The 12th Division is filled with incredible decency and humanity that you don’t see everywhere,” said Lt. Lihi.

Towards the end of one of the Shaked Battalion’s missions in Gaza, Platoon Commander Lieutenant Eran Admoni found a white fluffy cat that had been abandoned.

He said, “They gave her a kind of shelter. When the mission was over, they took her back to Israel. The fighters searched for people to adopt her and finally found an adoptive family.”

The cat wasn’t the only animal the Shaked Battalion rescued in Gaza; Major Tal Attias and Lieutenant Yoav Sander shared the privilege of walking with a large, colorful parrot on their shoulders.

The troops rescued the parrot which was trapped under the rubble in Gaza’s Palestine Square, a place that holds special significance for the current war because it was the first location in Gaza where the hostages were brought.

When the Israeli navy was sailing off the coast of Gaza, an injured owl landed on the deck. The sailors fed the owl and made a small cage for him.

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Lieutenant Jonathan, an Israeli Navy officer, reports that when they reached Haifa, they placed the owl in a wildlife hospital and since then, the owl has made a full recovery and was released back into the wild.

Perhaps the most astounding and heart-rending rescue is still in process and involves saving a malnourished lion from a Gaza zoo.

The Nature and Parks Authority is in communication with the IDF to determine how and when to rescue the lion from Gaza safely.