Tiger rescued from 'world's worst zoo' enjoying sanctuary life

Laziz was kept in horrific conditions at a zoo in Gaza

Tiger rescued from 'world's worst zoo' enjoying sanctuary life

A tiger that was rescued from the 'worst zoo in the world' is now fully enjoying life at a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa.

Laziz was believed to be the last tiger living on the Gaza Strip at the Khan Younis Zoo, reports the Metro.

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The zoo was struggling financially, so workers from the Four Paws charity visited him to give him food while they worked on a plan for his rescue.

There were 15 animals still living at the zoo in June, and Four Paws relocated them to a rescue centre in Jordan. However, there were no facilities for a big cat there, so Laziz travelled to Four Paws Big Cat Sanctuary Lionsrock in South Africa.

He was finally rescued in August after living alone for two years alongside bones and mummified remains of other animals that had died at the zoo.

Tiger rescued from 'world's worst zoo' enjoying sanctuary life

It has taken Laziz a few weeks to settle into his new enclosure, but the sanctuary has now updated its Facebook page with pictures of the tiger finally enjoying his new large enclosure.

He arrived weak and nervous, but is now playful and happy.

The 15 rescued animals were the only survivors of a 65-strong population, before bombings, Israel's blockade of Gaza and financial woes hit the zoo, leaving Laziz on a diet of rotten fruit and chicken carcasses.

He was left in his tiny cage every day, and taunted by children who threw things at him.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Four Paws director Ioana Dungler, 36, said of his rescue: "He was sedated for the flight to Johannesburg, crated up and flown out hours after he was rescued.

"Laziz is fiercely intelligent. He was a little bit baffled at first, trading a home of 10 square metres or so for one that is 1,000 times greater in size, but all his instincts came back to him in a flash."

Tiger rescued from 'world's worst zoo' enjoying sanctuary life

He was introduced to another tiger for the first time this week through a fence, and experts will see over time if he can meet another one closeup.

Ioana added that Laziz can now jump, listen to the roar of other tigers, get the food and care he needs and live out the rest of his life in peace.

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In pictures: the world's endangered predators