In wake of the recent termination of the “world’s worst zoo,” one Bengal tiger, named Laziz, will finally receive the happy ending he deserves and be moving on to a new home! Khanis Younis Zoo on the Gaza Strip opened in 2007 when 90 percent of the animals were smuggled into Palestine, through tunnels dug by Hamas fighters that were typically used for transporting weapons, food, and medicine. The zoo owner’s reasoning for opening the zoo was an effort to provide a distraction to Palestinians from their bleak everyday lives. Sadly, the zoo was poorly staffed with untrained works who couldn’t provide proper care for the animals who lived in horrendous conditions, and many animals didn’t make it including two lion cubs that were smuggled in from Egypt.
Fortunately, Four Paws International was able to negotiate with the zoo owner and come to an agreement to close the zoo. Laziz, the last Bengal tiger in Palestine was one of the 13 of the original 65 animals still alive.
Dr. Amir Khalil, who led the rescue team, thought the conditions animals were living in to be so shocking, he described it as “not a zoo but a prison.”
Laziz was found living among mummified animals that the zoo keeper had attempted to preserve in an effort to make the zoo look more full, and was incredibly malnourished. Luckily for this tiger, his worst days are behind him as he will be transported to Lion’s Rock Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa where he will be fed 16.5 pounds of meat a day – the appropriate amount for a Bengal tiger – and have plenty of space to roam and stretch his legs. This is a reminder that zoos can be detrimental to the livelihood of animals and never support them. There are many other options to interact with animals like wildlife reserves and animal sanctuaries where the animals are properly cared for.
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All image source: Daily Mail