Monday, January 17, 2011

Animals Lebanon closes down zoo

After a month of negotiating with the owner, Animals Lebanon was finally able to close down one of the worst zoos in Lebanon and give the animals the care they so desperately need. On Friday, 13 February, we rescued nearly 40 animals.

We need your help now to care for these animals. They all need a place to live - whether in a sanctuary, rehabilitated and returned to nature, or adopted into homes - vet care and proper food.

Warning - Knowing how negative and violent so much media is, we usually try not to show pictures or video footage that is too disturbing. However, in this case the reality can only be understood through the video.

Below is the personal experience of the Animals Lebanon rescuer who first visited the zoo.

On one side of the road there are restaurants, entertainment centers, and shopping malls. Unaware of what lies just across the street, people are laughing and happy. On the other side of the road hangs a dilapidated sign with faded letters that reads 'zoo.' Inside are dozens of animals cramped into rusty cages, surrounded by their own feces, and suffering from hunger, thirst, and boredom.

I passed this road hundreds of times and but never noticed the zoo. It was by chance I glimpsed the faded zoo signboard and decided to park and check it out. As I entered I was taken aback by the pungent smells of rotting food, filthy animals, and feces. Soon I had to wave my arms to push away the swarms of flies surrounding me. They were everywhere - in the air, in the rot, it was impossible to move away from them.

At first I said to myself there is no way that animals live here - that this may have been a zoo, but must have been abandoned years ago. It was only as I ventured deeper inside that I was dismayed to find that this small piece of land was full of rundown cages - and inside them, animals of all sorts: bears, jackals, monkey, turtles, a vulture, porcupines and so many others.

I have, in my life as an animal rescuer, encountered horrific sights - but this was by far one of the most heart wrenching scenes I have ever come across.

The animals were starving, their bodies were emaciated. There were no food bowls, only rusted tins from which the animals are supposed to drink water. In most of the cages, the water had dried up a while ago, in others it had been left unchanged for so long that algae was taking over.

The animals looked broken. It was clear that they were simply existing, waiting to die just to stop the suffering.

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Registered Charity #1036, Founded 9 Sept. 2008 | PO Box 113-5859, Beirut, Lebanon | Contact us