Animals Lebanon is working to stop the abusive and destructive conditions and practices of zoos in Lebanon.
We believe that no zoo should be permitted to keep animals unless it can demonstrate that it has the resources to provide for the animals behavioral, social and physiological needs over the animals entire lifetime.
There is currently no licensing or regulating of zoos in Lebanon, and no oversight by any government body to ensure the care of the animals in these facilities. There is no national zoo association, no regional zoo association, and no zoo comes close to meeting the minimum standards set by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Small roadside zoos throughout Lebanon routinely keep animals in abusive conditions, and offer little or no conservation or education value. Animals are occasionally found dead in their barren cages, having succumbed to disease or starvation. Zoo owners admit to illegally acquiring a range of endangered species including chimpanzees, bears and lions, and have worryingly expressed a desire to import elephants, zebras and giraffes.
We believe that existing zoos are in such a terrible state and keep animals in terrible conditions that they should be permanently closed or allowed to reopen only after significant improvements have been made. One zoo which represents itself as the best facility in Lebanon recently invited zoo experts from the European Union to visit. The experts informed the zoo management that they felt the animals at the zoo were in such abusive conditions that the zoo should be immediately closed, and all animals rehomed immediately or euthanized to relieve them of such a high level of sufferning.
Animals Lebanon has worked to close down three of the worst zoos in the country, placing over 100 animals in sanctuaries around the world, and continue to campaign to significantly improve or close down the remaining zoos.
We continue to work with the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture to draft and enact minimum standards for zoos.
We believe that as a minimum zoos should meet or exceed the European Union Zoo Directive and the guidelines and codes of ethics of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
We recommend that there is a shift from keeping animals in captivity and to instead increase efforts to protect animals in the wild.
Learn more by downloading the EU Zoo Directive and the WAZA Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare.
You can help improve the situation for zoo animals
The easiest way you can help the animals suffering in zoos throughout Lebanon is by not visiting the zoo, and encouraging others to do the same. There is very little that can be learned by observing animals in these miserable conditions, while there are national parks and reserves where wildlife in the wild can be observed.
If your schools or club is planning a trip to a zoo, politely encourage your teacher to consider one of the many projects and programs that allow students to learn about Lebanese wildlife and the environment.
If you do visit a zoo and see conditions that you believe are abusive, please contact Animals Lebanon with any details, pictures and video footage you may have.