Zoo animals rescued from war zones in Syria and Iraq find sanctuary in Jordan – National


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Los the bear is afraid of airplanes. Each time he hears one coming, he runs and hides.

And with good cause. The Asian black bear used to dwell on the Magic World zoo, simply exterior of Aleppo, Syria, which noticed intense bombing in 2016.

Los and his companion Sukar, that means “Sugar” in Arabic, had been amongst many animals deserted on the zoo to face damage, hunger and neglect as a warfare raged round them. Most died, however Sukar and Los, together with 11 different animals, had been rescued from the zoo in 2017 by the group 4 Paws Worldwide.

They now dwell within the Al Ma’wa animal sanctuary in northern Jordan, surrounded by bushes and much from bombing. The sanctuary holds lions and bears rescued from Aleppo, in addition to different lions from Mosul in Iraq, and Gaza. Additionally they have animals, together with tigers, that had been raised as pets or illegally traded.

Sukar, or “Sugar”, an Asian black bear, waits in his feeding space at Al Ma’wa.

Leslie Younger / World Information

“From everybody who works right here’s standpoint, these animals deserve a greater life,” says Mustafa Khriesat, website supervisor at Al Ma’wa.

“Upon getting animals in captivity, you’re answerable for them.”

That’s why 4 Paws determined to enter a Syrian warfare zone to save lots of them. Whereas rescuing animals from Mosul, Amir Khalil, a veterinarian who leads 4 Paws’ fast response missions, began to get messages on Fb, asking them to return to Syria.

Aleppo residents living ‘a daily holocaust,’ mayor blames international inaction

It could be “very tough,” he says, as a result of it was in a rebel-held space. “Everyone seems to be preventing there.”

A view of the Al Ma’wa animal sanctuary close to Jerash in Jordan.

Leslie Younger / World Information

However after lengthy negotiations in addition to permission of the zoo proprietor who escaped to the U.S., an area safety group went in and put the animals on vans. They then drove the lions, tigers and bears to the Turkish border, the place Khalil and a group of veterinarians had been ready.

“It was an enormous problem to be sincere,” he says. “However I feel now we have an excellent group and in addition an excellent consulting firm that assisted us with the logistics on the bottom in Syria.”

The animals had been in poor form, with pores and skin issues, deficiencies from malnutrition and even cardiac and kidney issues — in addition to trauma from dwelling in a warfare zone. “Animals which can be caged, to listen to the bombs and the planes and the capturing, they don’t know what’s occurring,” Khalil says.

WATCH: (From Nov. 2016) Earlier than the warfare, Aleppo was booming. The town, very similar to Toronto, was generally known as the cultural and financial hub of Syria, however the warfare has decreased the japanese portion of the once-vibrant metropolis to rubble. World Information Anchor Farah Nasser compares the panorama of Toronto to Aleppo.

After receiving some veterinary care, the animals had been loaded on a aircraft and flown to Jordan, the place some nonetheless stay.

Khalil thinks it was well worth the threat. “Animals usually are not the rationale for the warfare, and people have the choice, even in army battle, to be evacuated.”

“Why would the animal, trapped in a cage, not have the choice to flee from his cage?”

He believes it’s inhumane to go away a hungry animal behind. “We combat for humanity, kindness and a sort individual needs to be type to each people and to animals. I can not divide kindness to be solely type to people.”

Sanctuary life

At Al Ma’wa, the animals are saved in giant out of doors enclosures, with bushes, water, platforms, shelters and toys to play with.

“After they got here right here, all of the animals had loads of wounds, their psychology was very dangerous, horrible, however after we began to work with them, we had loads of issues,” says Saif Rwashdeh, animal keeper supervisor.

He’s comfortable to see the animals have placed on weight and appear more healthy and extra relaxed.

“We work on daily basis with the animals. Once we see the animals are very snug and really wholesome, which means now we have accomplished nicely.”

Though some have moved on to different sanctuaries in South Africa and elsewhere, Al Ma’wa may be the everlasting residence for a lot of animals. These born in captivity lack the abilities to hunt and survive within the wild, says Khriesat, in order that they attempt to present an excellent surroundings for them to spend their lives in.

Constructing bridges

Khalil and 4 Paws plan to proceed their work, liberating animals from warfare zones.

Animals can present hope and generally have the facility to construct bridges between opposing sides, Khalil says.

A lion on the Al Ma’wa sanctuary in Jordan.

Leslie Younger / World Information

“I’ve moved between Hamas and Israel. They don’t like one another. They kill one another and so they have battle,” he says. “However after I take animals from Gaza after the warfare and transfer them to Israel, I see Hamas troopers put their weapons on the bottom and so they carry the cages of my group.”

“These individuals don’t agree on something, have by no means agreed on something. And but they agreed to open the door for animals as a result of animals don’t have passports.”

WATCH: Pregnant lion dropped at Turkey from war-torn Syria

Individuals need to assist animals once they see them, he says. “Individuals say that about us that we’re loopy, that we don’t take the state of affairs critically. It’s a warfare, bombs are falling and you’re caring for animals? It sounds humorous to them.”

However inside hours, those self same individuals ask him if they’ll donate their breakfast to a bear, or provide a rooster as lion meals — even once they have little themselves. “We’re proud that we’re in a position to save a life.”

© 2018 World Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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