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FOUR PAWS Statement Regarding Animal Welfare in Zoos in the Gaza Strip

JANUARY 2016 - FOUR PAWS is dedicated to finding a solution to the suffering of animals in inappropriate and dangerous living conditions around the globe. In response to the latest round of media attention paid to the conditions of zoos in the Gaza Strip, FOUR PAWS would like to offer this statement:


FOUR PAWS entered Gaza in September 2014 to undertake an emergency action at the Al Bisan Zoo. One lioness and two male lions were rescued by our team from the heavily-damaged facility and brought to a sanctuary in Jordan. The FOUR PAWS team also provided veterinary services, helped improve the enclosures, and trained zoo staff to care for the remaining animals. Since then, FOUR PAWS also entered Gaza in April 2015 to help the remaining animals at Khan Younis Zoo, which had been widely reported by media as “the worst zoo in the world” after pictures emerged of animals at the zoo that had starved to death and been mummified for display by the zoo’s owner. Later in 2015, FOUR PAWS again became active in the region by rescuing two lion cubs that were living as pets in a refugee camp in Rafah and transferring them to the sanctuary in Jordan, made possible by a collaboration with the Princess Alia Foundation.  


The general situation for captive wild animals in the Gaza Strip is very difficult as there are a large number of animals and limited resources to rescue them. There is thought to be around 40 big cats in the Gaza Strip currently. The situation is even more complicated because it is extremely difficult to enter the region and then gain the permissions needed to transport these animals across borders.


A FOUR PAWS team will be on the way to Gaza as soon as possible to provide the tigers, lions and other wild animals there with food and fresh water. For the Khan Younis and the Rafah Zoos – two of the seven zoos that still exist in the Gaza strip – we have already gathered food packages that we will distribute to the animals in the next couple of days. 


We are dedicated to finding solutions for the suffering of captive wild animals around the world. If you are interested in helping us rescue animals, please consider donating at or through our crowd funding page