Over the years BBC audiences have seen several reports concerning two zoos in Khan Younis and Rafah in the Gaza Strip.
April 2012: Gaza zoo resorts to displaying stuffed animals
“Mohamed Owaida from the Khan Younis Zoo says it is proving too costly to feed his living animals, and he can not always get live specimens through the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip.”
August 2016: The last tiger to leave Gaza zoo
“He [the tiger] has lived with me through three wars. He saw disaster and terror. He lived through difficult nights. Like all of us, like me.”
“Dozens of animals died during fighting between Palestinian militants and Israel.”
August 2016: BBC Radio 4 ‘PM’, Yolande Knell
“Akram Mahali says daily life is a struggle. Neither he nor his six children have ever seen life outside Gaza and they’re not likely to any time soon. With Hamas in control of the Palestinian territory, both Israel and Egypt impose tight border restrictions and limit travel.”
“Then, just after dawn, the animals leave Gaza. Their suffering will soon be over but they leave behind Palestinians who continue to feel trapped.”
April 2019: Gaza zoo animals evacuated to Jordan by Four Paws group
“Mr Jomaa blamed the Israeli and Egyptian blockades of Gaza, which is controlled by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, and bad economic conditions for the squalid conditions in the zoo.”
Now the Times of Israel reports that the Rafah zoo has reopened.
“In April, international animal rights charity Four Paws took all the animals to sanctuaries, receiving a pledge the zoo would close forever.
But last month, it reopened with two lions and three new cubs, penned in cages only a few square meters in size.
Critics say the owners want to bully Four Paws or other animal welfare organizations into giving them thousands of dollars to free the animals into their care.
Four Paws paid the zoo’s owners more than $50,000 in the year before its closure for medical treatments, food and caretakers. […]
The newly reopened zoo’s manager, Ashraf Jumaa, from the same family that owned the old one, said they brought the new lions through tunnels from Egypt.”
Given the BBC’s previous record, should it decide to cover this latest development in the story it reported in April we can no doubt expect to see more politicised commentary blaming the conditions suffered by animals in Gaza zoos on inadequately explained Israeli counter-terrorism measures.
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