In war torn Mosul in Iraq, the Montazah Almorour Zoo had once been home to a large number of animals, playgrounds and green spaces for tourists and residents. Tragically the ISIS invasion caused even more innocent victims of war to suffer egregious and agonizing deaths; many of the animals including a lioness, monkeys and rabbits either starved to death or were killed by surrounding fire and shrapnel.
Two remaining zoo denizens somehow managed to barely survive. A veterinary team from charity Four Paws International, Vienna, Austria, an organization that sends aid workers worldwide to rescue bears, big cats and stray animals, has started treating animals at the Mumtaz al-Nour zoo in eastern Mosul to help. The team, led by Dr. Amir Khalil, arrived to help Simba the lion and Lula the bear. Both animals suffer from a host of diseases including extreme malnutrition, pneumonia, arthritis and severe dental infections.
According to the Daily Mail, the zoo’s location had been on the front battle line of conflict between militants and the Iraqi army. Most of the animals were killed, however local residents and volunteers had been feeding the last two zoo survivors with food scraps until it was too dangerous to risk their own live. Earlier in the month, zoo owner Abu Omar stated:
“When the battle intensified, it was impossible for the guard and animal handler to reach them.”
The battle lasted nearly four months. Now that the city has recently been liberated by Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the rescue team has sent veterinarians to supply medical help. On the organization’s Facebook book, the ongoing rescue efforts have been updated:
” A FOUR PAWS team accompanied by local volunteers are on site to provide the last two wild animals, a bear and a lion, with food and medical care. Although alive, both animals look miserable and are suffering from many diseases caused by malnutrition and lack of veterinary care. Both have very bad teeth, in addition the bear suffers from pneumonia and the lion has ill joints. The cages were cleaned and the bear and the lion were provided with the urgently needed help!”
As to the futures of Simba and Lula, the organization is grateful that they have been able to supply first aid and provide the survivors with food for at least the next four weeks. They are investigating the possibilities of future treatment for the animals and plan to keep advocates and supporters informed. It is asked that advocates keep in mind ISIS has been in control for the last two years – people and animals have suffered. Fortunately Iraqi media has helped to bring the plight of these animals out to the public.
Photos of zoo animals in Mosul courtesy of Four Paws International Facebook.
To help, please click here.
Check out the heartwarming video as these two innocent survivors are finally receiving the help they deserve: