Lions left behind as Rafah Zoo evacuates

Lions left in Rafah zoo

While more than half a million Palestinians were able to flee Rafah after Israel’s specious and unreliable “safe zones” were advertised by Netanyahu’s government; unfortunately the lions left in Rafah Zoo will never reach a safe zone for this is no Babylon’s Ark.

Zookeepers at Rafah Zoo were only given a couple of days to evacuate as many animals as possible to a safe area after Israel launched its offensive in Rafah, south Gaza, the Associated Press reported on 3rd June.

Fathi Juma, owner of the zoo revealed that some animals had to be left behind: guard dogs, cats, turtles, and three elderly lions.

READ: Ramzy Baroud: Netanyahu’s bombing of Rafah explained

“We ran out of time and we had to leave the area and keep the rest of the animals in the zoo, and of course, those animals will die.”, Juma stated.

Without anyone feeding the animals or giving them water, their life expectancy barely exceeds a week.

However, some of the animals were successfully evacuated out of Rafah and into a cow farm in Khan Younis, although now they face food shortages – mirroring the famine throughout Gaza that has killed thousands of children who survived the continuous artillery strikes. 

Zookeeper, Samir Juma declared their situation as “disastrous. We only give them what is available such as canned food brought in aid such as chickpeas, fava beans and beef…We now feed the animals not to make them feel full but only to survive for the second day.”

Since 6th May – the beginning of Israel’s offensive in Rafah – the UN found that aid deliveries to Gaza have dropped by two-thirds, Reuters reported.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu insists that Rafah must be taken over to eliminate any remaining Hamas militants and simultaneously blames Hamas for civilian deaths as the group operates in dense residential areas.

Al Jazeera’s live tracker for the deaths in Gaza shows that at least 36,550 people have been killed due to the actions of Israel’s Defence Forces. This figure includes the lives of over 15,000 children.

AP/Reuters/The Guardian


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