More than 40 zoo animals evacuated from Gaza Strip
RAFAH, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES - AFP
Thin and weakened, the 43 animals, including a wolf and monkeys, had been living in "terrible conditions," said the Four Paws association, which organized the transfer.
The animals were not in great shape, but were stable enough to be transported to a reserve in Jordan, some 300 kilometers from the Palestinian enclave, said Martin Bauer, spokesman for the Vienna-based welfare group.
The animals were sedated to be put in cages for the transfer through Israel. Two of the lions would eventually be sent to South Africa.
Four Paws was supposed to move ahead with the transfer in late March, but the organization could not enter the enclave since the crossing was closed that week due to a flare-up of violence between Gaza militants and Israel.
Israel's permission was also received for the mission.
He said it was the biggest such mission carried out by Four Paws and intensive negotiations were required.
Israel and Palestinian militants in the strip have fought three wars since 2008.
Four Paws says a number of animals at the zoo have died in bombings since its 1999 opening.
The organization in 2017 rescued a lion and a bear from a zoo in Mosul in northern Iraq, a former stronghold of the Islamic State group.