Charity fighting to save animals from bombed zoo
FOUR PAWS are deep in negotiations to rescue Lula the bear and Simba the lion from their desolate home in an abandoned zoo in Iraq.
The charity's rapid response team, led by mission leader Amir Khalil, has been providing food and veterinary care for Lula and Simba, the last remaining animals of Montazah Al-Morour Zoo in Mosul, for the past three months after the zoo was nearly destroyed in the ongoing civil conflict.
Both animals are suffering from many diseases caused by malnutrition and lack of veterinary care, and the lion also has joint problems.
With the army's help, the rescue effort initially went according to plan and the team anaesthetised the animals and loaded them onto the truck, but they were stopped and detained at the first checkpoint at the border of Mosul. Lula and Simba were then sent back to the zoo and the team were asked to leave Mosul without them.
A spokesman for the charity said: “We won't give up on Lula and Simba. We have come so far. This is just the last step we have to take. And we will take it. For Lula and Simba, who deserve to be rescued. They deserve to find peace in a safer place. A place which is appropriate for a bear and a lion. A place far away from a war zone like Mosul.”
Negotiations have been continuing through the night, and we will post updates here as they happen.