Following extensive and complex negotiations between a number of different parties, including PAL, the two lion cubs who had been kept in a Gaza refugee camp have now been moved by international NGO, Four Paws, to a sanctuary in Jordan. PAL is delighted to have been able to assist in work on the ground to ensure that these young animals have a better life but concerns remain over the future of other big cats in both zoos and private hands around the region.
Initial negotiations had involved working with the zoos in question to seek an end to breeding of animals for sale and a firm agreement that no further wild animals will be sold to members of the public. Following discussions between the zoo owner, the former owner of the two lion cubs and PAL in the last few days, it appears that no such agreement was reached prior to the cubs’ removal. PAL is therefore committed to continue work on the ground in Gaza to ensure that more cubs are not sold into inappropriate conditions in the coming years.
Said Ahmad Safi, Executive Director of PAL:
“We are delighted that the two lion cubs now appear to have a bright future ahead of them, and that a disaster was averted by removing the big cats from a domestic home where an eventual injury, to either the lions or the people being allowed to interact with them closely, seemed inevitable. However, we remain concerned that the root cause of the problem has not been addressed and we will continue to liaise with both the zoos and the authorities in Gaza to combat the idea that ownership and sale of dangerous wild animals is appropriate”.
PAL raised concerns back in April that international publicity surrounding the issue may fuel interest in keeping wild animals as pets as the region.