Israel helps rescue animals from Gaza zoo

Living conditions for animals at the Khan Yunis Zoo in Gaza were unbearable, so international charity, Four Paws, stepped in to save them and with Israel’s help, have been transferred to new homes around the world.

In what was termed as a “complex operation,” zoo animals were rescued on Wednesday from the Gaza Strip to Israel, and then to other countries, “in order to receive better living conditions and improved care,” thus successfully concluding “Operation Safari,” Israel stated.

At the initiative of Four Paws, an international charity, a tiger, five monkeys, two ostriches, two gazelles, two tortoises, a swan and a porcupine left Gaza for better living conditions elsewhere.

The animals will leave the Khan Yunis zoo in the southern Gaza Strip and will be transferred to zoos in South Africa, Jordan, the Ben Shemen monkey park and the Safari zoo in Ramat Gan, Israel.

Their transfer, in effect, constitutes the closing of Khan Yunis zoo, which once housed over 100 animals, the operation of which had become very difficult in recent years.

In the past, the zoo has displayed deceased and stuffed animals, while another zoo in Gaza painted stripes on donkeys to make them look like zebras.

As on previous such rescue operations, the move was made possible due to cooperation between the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry’s Gaza Coordination and Liaison Office, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the Defense Ministry Crossings Authority and the local Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza.

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The coordinated effort enabled the entry of special cages, veterinary equipment and medicines into the Gaza Strip to facilitate optimal veterinary treatment of the animals before the actual transfer.

“Given the less than satisfactory conditions and in the absence of the ability to continue caring for the animals at the Khan Yunis zoo, the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry assisted and coordinated the transfer of the animals to zoos in Israel and around the world,” said Uri Madar from the Agriculture Ministry Gaza Coordination and Liaison Office.

“Over the last two years, the ministry transferred lions, a horse and other animals. Our veterinary services have been continually active and are devoted to the welfare and health of the animals. We are delighted and moved every time we are able to be of assistance in saving the lives of animals,” he added.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News