Lions, tigers, bears from war torn Syria evac­u­ated to Jor­dan

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Thir­teen an­i­mals that had been trapped in harsh con­di­tions in a zoo in the war-torn Syr­ian city of Aleppo were evac­u­ated on Fri­day to a wildlife re­serve in Jor­dan. Five lions, two tigers, two bears, two hye­nas and two dogs were be­ing re­leased into the Al-Ma’wa re­serve near the town of Souf in north­ern Jor­dan. The Aus­trian-based an­i­mal char­ity Four Paws had res­cued the an­i­mals from the Magic World zoo in Aleppo with help from Turkey.

The group said the zoo’s owner, who fled Syria after the 2011 out­break of civil war there, granted per­mis­sion to take the an­i­mals. Some of the an­i­mals are fine, while oth­ers suf­fer from blind­ness as well as heart, liver and kid­ney dis­ease, said Dr. Amir Khalil, a vet for the char­ity. One of the lions is due to give birth within two weeks, he said. “It was a very dif­fi­cult mis­sion,” said Khalil. “The team calls it ‘mis­sion im­pos­si­ble’ be­cause it’s one of the most dan­ger­ous and volatile places on earth, mil­i­tary con­flict, a lot of rebels, and it’s not easy to take wild an­i­mals from such places.”

Khalil said the an­i­mals spent the last three weeks in cages, dur­ing their trans­port from Syria to Turkey and then Jor­dan. “We are very happy to­day to re­lease these an­i­mals so they can touch the ground, touch the grass and I think this is a very fine feel­ing which we like,” he said. “It’s a mes­sage of hope for the peo­ple in Syria and around the world. It’s peace.” Syria’s con­flict erupted in 2011, quickly trans­form­ing from a pop­u­lar uprising against Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad into a bru­tal civil war. An es­ti­mated 400,000 Syr­i­ans have been killed in the fight­ing. More than 5 mil­lion Syr­i­ans have fled their home­land and mil­lions more were up­rooted in­side Syria.—AP

A lion res­cued from a zoo in the war-torn Syr­ian city of Aleppo bares its teeth from in­side a cage be­fore be­ing re­leased into the Al-Ma’awa wildlife re­serve near the town of Souf in north­ern Jor­dan. —AP pho­tos

A tiger res­cued from a zoo in the war-torn Syr­ian city of Aleppo drink­ing from a small pond.

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