This gives us a glimpse into what it is like for zoo animals living through war. They tend to be completely neglected and die or they are killed by other zoo animals. That is probably the general and expected scenario. No one gives a damn for zoo animals or most other animals in war, if the war is happening all around the animals or it is simply impossible to care. There are exceptions.
If you read the newspapers (and sometimes I think we should not because they can be lead to a jaundiced view of life) you’d have heard about the Iraqi forces assisted by Americans trying to recapture Mosul from ISIS (Islamic State). It has been slow progress. Many innocent civilians have been killed by ISIS. They have been forced to stay as a means of protecting the jihadists.
During the conflict residents had tried to feed the animals at Mosul Zoo which is located in al-Noor park on the banks of the famous Tigris river. They were unsuccessful.
Iraqi government forces have recaptured sufficient parts of Mosul to get to the zoo. ISIS fled the eastern part of the city in January. The jihadists had used the zoo as a military base and had apparently slaughtered many of the animals. Just two were left: a lion, Simba, and a bear, Lula. They were the only survivors. As can be expected they were both in poor health and in desperate need of good care.
A group of veterinarians from the Four Paws animal charity rescued Simba and Lula. They transported them to the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Arbil from where they were flown to Amman in Jordan after much administrative work. Amman is the most populous city of that country.
One of the vets, Amir Khali said:
“They are refugees. It’s our duty to take them to a sanctuary. This is the beginning of a new life for the animals. From now on they won’t have to be part of this war.”
Well said. There is video material on Facebook of Lula playing in a grass enclosure and she’ll get a new and larger enclosure soon. The video above shows the early stages of their rescue from the zoo.
The story is instructive. It provides a glimpse of life of animals in war. These are animals which people have a particular duty to care for as they have been either born or forced into captivity to live pretty miserable lives to entertain people. We owe them. Amir Khali got it right.
Often beautiful, proud wild animals in zoos are reduced to skin and bone before dying in squalid cages in war zones in the Middle East. That is humans for you.