Lion Cubs Cling Together During Rescue from Gaza Refugee Camp

Two lion cubs were rescued from Gaza after they were purchased by a man for his grandchildren to play with in the war torn region.

Two lion sibling cubs, Alex and Mona, have been rescued from a refugee camp in the war torn Gaza strip. When Four Paws, an international animal welfare group, found out that the cubs were living in a three bedroom apartment with children they knew they had to get involved.

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A man bought the cubs when they were only two months old for his six grandchildren, but they were living in poor conditions and the animals had developed medical issues.

Four Paws worked for weeks to plan their rescue, requiring permits and negotiations with the cubs’ owners. The organization renamed the cubs Shalom and Salam. After a few hiccups and delays at the borders they traveled from Gaza, crossing through the borders of Israel and to Jordan, where the cubs will permanently live at a sanctuary.

One morning, during the transport, staff checked on the cubs and were surprised to find the siblings clinging to one another as they slept. 

Dr. Amair Khalil, who led the rescue team, said: “It was very hard for the father of the family, who bought the lion cubs from Rafah zoo in March, to say goodbye, but we are very happy that he finally sees reason. A small flat is not an appropriate place for wild animals and they pose a danger to all humans in their surroundings.”

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Four Paws first worked in the Middle East in 2014 when they rescued three lions from a damaged zoo north of the Gaza strip. According to Four Paws, the smuggling of exotic animals is a major problem in Gaza and surrounding areas. The international animal welfare organization has offices in 10 countries and helps animals in need if you would like more information click here.

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