A zoo in Gaza, known as the world’s worst zoo, has closed after the animals were successfully transferred across the border to Israel.
The animals – Laziz the tiger, five monkeys, one emu, one pelican, one deer, two porcupines, two long-legged buzzards and two turtles – were rescued from desolate conditions by the Vienna-based Four Paws International, which has long described the Khan Yunis Zoo as the worst in the world. After making their way from Gaza to Israel through the Erez crossing, the animals will be heading to their final destinations in Jordan, Israel and South Africa.
A special challenge was the tight time schedule we had available,” said Dr. Amir Khalil, a veterinarian and the mission leader for Four Paws.
“We were quite worried if Laziz would go into his transport crate without any issues; we definitely wanted to avoid anesthetizing him if not absolutely necessary,” Khalil continued. “But the tiger just went straight into the box as if he knew that we will bring him to a nice home. We were so relieved.”
On Thursday, it was confirmed that Laziz the tiger, who had lived in a small cage in Gaza alongside another tiger’s stuffed corpse, had arrived safely in South Africa, home to more than 100 other big cats, according to Four Paws.
The nine-year-old male, known as Laziz, arrived by plane. His handlers said he was in good condition and calm after traveling in a wooden crate.
The five monkeys, including a pregnant female, will be staying in Israel at the Ben-Shemen Monkey Park’s sanctuary.
Meanwhile, the porcupines, emu, pelican and all the other animals are on their way to Jordan’s New Hope Center – part of the Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife sanctuary, run jointly by Four Paws and the Princess Alia Foundation.
Read more about the rescue mission at Jerusalem Post