Tragic Photos of Starving African Lions in Zoo Spark Online Campaign
An online campaign to save “malnourished and sick” African lions from a zoo in Sudan is growing rapidly, with many calling for the exotic animals to be moved immediately.
The tragic and heartbreaking images show five lions with their rib cages visible underneath their sagging skin. The zoo’s inability to look after these creatures has sparked Osman Salih to start a campaign, named #SudanAnimalRescue. The online campaign has gained momentum.
Salih has posted several updates to Facebook, outlining his devastation about the poor health that these animals are in.
“I was shaken when I saw these lions at the park… their bones are protruding from the skin. I urge interested people and institutions to help them,” Salih wrote.
In one post, he notified the community of the death of one lioness:
“I regret to inform you that the sick female lion has died. The other female is getting better and the male is OK.”
The online campaign has called for donations to help with food and medical supplies, with the international community responding positively.
The Al-Qureshi zoo’s park officials are well aware of the dire circumstances; however, they lack the resources to feed the lions due to a prolonged shortage of food and medicine. The Khartoum municipal government manages the park but relies on private donations.
Park manager Essamelddine Hajjar told AFP in an interview that the staff often purchase food out of their own wages:
“Food is not always available so often we buy it from our own money to feed them.”
Currently, Sudan is suffering from a severe economic crisis where inflation has hit all-time highs while the Sudanese currency continues to plummet. It isn’t unusual for people to line up for basic goods like bread and fuel. As of 2018, children often go without breakfast because of the skyrocketing costs of food.
Despite the crisis, Salih has said that the international call to rehouse the lions has led to an active search for a new home for them. Emergency responders are also offering their medical assistance.
“Today was a positive day at Qurashi Park. We had good meetings with the park administration and the wildlife police.
Lots of fresh meat was brought by several donors as well as two sheep. Supply of regular meat from factories and slaughter houses was also secured.
Best news of the day was the willingness of FOUR PAWS International to send an emergency rescue to rehabilitate the animals not only at Qurashi zoo but other parks in Sudan as well as train staff at wildlife authority.”
The African lion has been classified as a “vulnerable species, with only around 20,000 surviving today.