(TMU) — A growing online campaign is calling for a group of “malnourished and sick” African lions residing at a zoo in Sudan to be saved, with many calling for the big cats to be moved to a healthier habitat.
Heartbreaking images from Al-Qureshi Park in the country’s capital city of Khartoum show the five lions with skin hanging from their bones in a clear sign of the zoo’s inability to feed the creatures amid a dire shortage of food and medicine.
The campaign, which was started online by Osman Salih under the hashtag #Sudananimalrescue, has gained momentum online as social networks respond to the plight of the lions.
The Khartoum resident wrote:
“I was shaken when I saw these lions at the park… their bones are protruding from the skin. I urge interested people and institutions to help them.”
Salih has posted numerous updates to Facebook about the condition of the animals including a tragic status about the death of one of them. In one post, he wrote:
“I regret to inform you that the sick female lion has died. The other female is getting better and the male is OK.”
للأسف الشديد اللبوة ماتت. اللبوه التانية مستجيبة للأدوية. والأسد كويس.I regret to inform you that the sick female lion has died. The other female is getting better and the male is OK.#اسود_حديقة_القرشي
The campaign has gained worldwide media attention with doctors and civil society positively responding to calls for donations of food supplies and proper medical care.
Al-Qureshi park officials are well aware of the deteriorating conditions of the lions who have lost roughly two-thirds of their body weight. However the zoo simply lacks the resources to feed the lions. The park is managed by the Khartoum municipal government but relies in part on private donors.
Park manager Essamelddine Hajjar told AFP:
“Food is not always available so often we buy it from our own money to feed them.”
Park caretaker Moataz Mahmoud added:
“They are suffering from severe illnesses. They are sick and appear to be malnourished.”
أسد الغابة يعاني الجوع الشديد..صور تداولها السودانيون على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي لمجموعة من الأسود في حديقة القرشي…
Sudan is one of the world’s poorest countries. The North African country is in the midst of a severe economic crisis with the price of food and basic consumer goods sharply rising as the Sudanese currency is falls at an unprecedented rate.
However, Salih said that emergency responders are following up and offering medical assistance to the malnourished lions while international calls to rescue the lions have led to a search for a new home for them.
On Sunday, he wrote:
“Today was a positive day at Qurashi Park. We had good meetings with the park administration and the wildlife police.
Lots of fresh meat was brought by several donors as well as two sheep. Supply of regular meat from factories and slaughter houses was also secured.
Best news of the day was the willingness of FOUR PAWS International to send an emergency rescue to rehabilitate the animals not only at Qurashi zoo but other parks in Sudan as well as train staff at wildlife authority.”
Today was a positive day at Qurashi Park. We had good meetings with the park administration and the wildlife police. It…
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the African lions as a “vulnerable” species. The species’ population has fallen by 43 percent between 1993 and 2014, with only around 20,000 remaining alive today.