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Can’t stand the sight of animals suffering in tiny cages? This campaign aims to turn sour into sweet

Supporters show solidarity with zoo animals in distress by taking the ‘lemon challenge’


BOSTON, MA – August 2, 2016 – For several months, FOUR PAWS has been working to help a now infamous zoo called Khan Younis in Gaza, also known as the ‘worst zoo in the world’. There remains the last tiger in Gaza named Laziz, and 15 other animals that, with constant military fighting and border closings, suffer in deplorably conditions with unreliable food supplies.


After an extremely tough start to negotiations, the international animal welfare organization can now finally see a way out for the animals affected. To put their rescue plan into action, and to raise awareness for all captive animals held under lacking, unnatural conditions, or in conflict zones, FOUR PAWS is calling for people to take part in the ‘lemon challenge’.



FOUR PAWS veterinarian Amir Khalil, who has headed up the missions and negotiations with the zoo owner, explained, “We are working on finalizing arrangements with the zoo owner, so we now want to pool our strengths and show how many people around the world want a good home for these animals. This is a bad situation: A ‘sour’ situation, if you will.” This is why FOUR PAWS is calling on all supporters to show their solidarity with Laziz and the other captive animals and ‘bite the sour lemon’.


#2sour2ignore – The lemon challenge


The idea of the FOUR PAWS lemon challenge is to get over a small hurdle to have a big effect: to help with the campaign, supporters are invited to film themselves biting into a lemon, post the video on their favorite social network with #2sour2ignore, and then call on at least three friends to do the same. Whoever does not feel like ‘biting the sour lemon’ can make a donation instead, which will help make it financially possible to transfer the animals from Gaza into appropriate sanctuaries. Of course, particularly committed supporters can do both!


Dr. Khalil again explained, “We think this challenge is very symbolic. No one can bite into a lemon without a certain reaction, a feeling that you just can’t ignore. With this campaign, we would like supporters to experience just for a moment how it must feel, the uncomfortable life of wild animals in captivity. For us, the discomfort only lasts for a few seconds – but the animals in Khan Younis Zoo have had to waste their entire lives in tiny cages, sometimes with too little food, and without the medical care they urgently need.”


FOUR PAWS missions in Gaza


Early this year, financial difficulties meant that Khan Younis Zoo was no longer able to adequately care for and feed its animals. To attract more visitors and income, the owner even exhibited the mummified cadavers of animals that had already died. These ‘animal mummies’ have since been removed, but the dubious reputation as ‘worst zoo in the world’ has stuck. In February this year, the owner asked FOUR PAWS for help, and the international animal welfare organization stepped in with urgent food deliveries. In June, FOUR PAWS carried out an additional mission to assess the situation on the ground and take measures to improve it by medical checks, safety checks on enclosures, etc.


FOUR PAWS had also carried out several previous missions in Gaza. Back in September 2014, a team provided assistance to the badly bombed Al-Bisan Zoo in the north of the Gaza Strip. Three lions were transferred to a rescue center in Jordan. In April 2015, a FOUR PAWS emergency relief team carried out another aid mission, giving medical treatment and food to the animals in Khan Younis Zoo. September 2015 saw FOUR PAWS succeed in extracting two lion cubs from a refugee camp. The cubs were sold as ‘pets’ to a father of six by the Rafah Zoo.


FOUR PAWS is the only animal protection organization active in the region and has taken the plight of captive wild animals very seriously. Dedicated to finding a sustainable, long-term solution for all wild captive animals in Gaza, FOUR PAWS is encouraged by the closing of Khan Younis. All in all, there are six zoos in the Gaza Strip.


It is suggested that with each sour bite from the #2sour2ignore campaign, FOUR PAWS will be able to do more for all the neglected zoo animals in Gaza.


To donate to the Gaza mission, please go to: