Gaza Zoo Embraces The Afterlife

Stuffed animals populate attraction

Welcome to Khan Younis zoo in the Gaza Strip, where whether the animals are alive or not is, essentially, pot luck.

Take their lion for example. It died in 2009 but has been stuffed and returned to its cage for petting, because war has made it impossible to replace their dying stock.

Alas, taxidermy in the area isn't of an excellent standard so the whole experience looks somewhat macabre. A monkey had missing limbs, reports the Associated Press, a porcupine has a hole in its head, and flies swarm the stuffed beasts.

There's no zookeeper meaning children often poke chocolate, potato chips and bread through the wire. Medical treatment is done by consulting over the phone with vets in Egypt.

Owner Mohammed Awaida opened the "South Forest Park" in 2007, only to lose a number of animals during Israel's military offensive against Hamas in December 2008. During that time Awaida said he could not reach the zoo, and many animals died of neglect and starvation. "The idea to mummify animals started after the Gaza war because a number of animals like the lion, the tiger, monkeys and crocodiles died," he told the Associated Press. "So we asked around and we learned from the Web how to start."

Video: The Telegraph

Tags: animals

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