Disturbing images of starving lions prompts online campaign to save them

An online campaign to rescue five starving African lions at a park in the Sudan capital at the Khartoum’s Al-Qureshi Park escalated after a report that one of the lions died on Monday.

According to a post on Facebook by local resident Osman Salih, last Saturday, he was shocked by the presence of the starving and emaciated animals. They had not been fed nor given any veterinary care for weeks. The photos of the starving lions quickly went viral.

“…  we would like to inform you that we have contacted the park administration and it indicated to us that the wildlife police are responsible for these animals and their care and Its cleanliness and they were constantly preparing the meat, but they stopped for a while and held the wildlife police directly responsible for the deterioration of the lions condition, and stated that entering the garden for a month is not enough to feed one lion for a week.”

Salih started an online campaign called #SudanAnimalRescue. Salih had reservations against accepting monetary donations, and asked people interested in helping to bring meat directly to the lions. Since his initial plea, one female lion has died, but medical treatment and food have been coming in.

Park officials said the animals have deteriorated over the past few weeks; some losing almost two-thirds of their body weight. Essamelddine Hajjar, a manager at the Al-Qureshi park, said staff have spent their own money to feed the animals when no funds are available.  The park is managed by Khartoum municipality but also funded in part by private donors. Sudan is in the midst of a severe economic crisis.

 “We have consulted a number of veterinarians and wildlife specialists on the topic of treatment, which requires effort and follow-up to the health conditions of lions, and there is an estimated group of young people inside and outside the country who have the desire to provide assistance. The invitation is open to all who are interested in wildlife and all who believe that the animal has the right to provide us with the necessary assistance.

God willing, tomorrow we will meet with the director of the park and the director of wildlife to arrange treatment for lions and arrange food for them.”

According to the New York Times, the Four Paws organization, with headquarters in Vienna, stated they were “closely monitoring” the situation and had been seeking approval from the national authorities to send in veterinarians and wildlife experts.

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