When wild animals are kept captive, their independence and instincts are taken from them. They can no longer hunt or forage for their own food. For social wild animals, they’re also missing the family bonds that they’d have in the wild with their pride, pack, or herd, etc. Without even getting into how damaging captivity is for the physical and mental health of animals, these basic reasons are enough to understand they don’t belong in captivity. Yet with zoos, circuses, and other forms of exploitation, humans confine them to life as prisoners.

Recently, Gaza Zoo became unable to care for the animals due to human conflicts between Israel and Palestine. The conflicts resulted in blockades which led to economic struggles in Gaza. This left the owner of Gaza Zoo unable to properly care for the animals. The terrible conditions led to the death of four lion cubs during a storm in January, a monkey killing another, and the death of a porcupine. Some animals have even died due to bombings in the area. In an attempt to make money, Fathy Jomaa, owner of the zoo even recently declawed two young lions so that people could pose for selfies with them.

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Such exploitation is horrible considering the animals at the zoo were already in cages that were much too small for them and not being properly fed or cared for. Animal Welfare Organization, Four Paws wanted to save the animals from this place and were fortunately able to come to an agreement with Jomaa, who said, “It is a tough decision; I feel like I am losing my family. I lived with some of those animals for 20 years. I hope they find a better place to live.”

Four Paws relocated 47 animals which include lions, monkeys, peacocks, porcupines, dogs, cats, foxes, and squirrels. Some of the animals like lions will also eventually be relocated to places that are better suited to house them. The Gaza Zoo has only kept birds.

We are so glad that Four Paws saved these animals from the terrible conditions in which they were living and we hope their lives are better from here on out. Hopefully, this situation reminds people why animals don’t belong in captivity to begin with.

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