Animals starving to death at zoo in Yemen

Civil war has seen 265 animals left to die at zoo


Animals starving to death at zoo in Yemen

Animals at a zoo in Yemen are starving to death amid an ongoing civil war.

The 265 animals, including 28 endangered Arabian leopards as well as lions, are dying at Tiaz zoo.

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The animals are currently being cared for by a small team of volunteers from SOS Zoo and Bear Rescue, set up by Chantal Jonkergouw, who is based in Sweden.

Chantal told the Independent that keeping the animals alive costs around £3,241 a week and money is critically low, now down to £8,103.

Food supplies are desperately low and Chantal said it would now "take a miracle" to stop the animals from starving to death.

She said many are also showing signs of extreme "zoochosis", a condition that can affect animals in captivity, and sees them displaying signs of repetitive behaviours.

The city of Taiz has seen fighting since April 2015, when government forces were pushed out by rebel Houthis.

Ms Jonkesgouw said there were "two offers on the table" to move the animals to safety, with the Princess Alia Foundation in Jordan and the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) both saying they'd take the animals.

But getting safe passage would cost around £400,000 and could prove almost impossible due to the UAE support for Yemen's government, not favouring the Houthi rebels.

On a fundraising page, which has been halted until the situation is clear, Chantal explains: "We have recently ceased our support to Taiz zoo until Yemen authorities give us permits for evacuating the animals to safety. We have two offers on the table, from UAE and Jordan, to host the animals for the duration of the war.

"We continue to pay for fresh water and for two people at our local NGO partner Tamdeen, who help us to find ways to get permits. Your donations will be used for this right now.. The remainder will stay in the SOS fund for use if we get permits or if another unexpected situation arises.

"I am personally also working hard behind the scenes to get these permits, but it looks bleak as Yemen is in disarray and also very uncooperative to give permits.

"Additionally, the Taiz area is still largely occupied by Houthi rebels, who will most likely never agree to an evacuation, nor let us carry out the operation without huge safety risks for the people involved."


You can also keep up to date at the SOS Zoo and Bear Rescue Facebook page.

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