Laziz the tiger paces nervously in his cage. He is one of the lone survivors and he's hungry. The owners of the Khan Younis Zoo in the Gaza Strip don't have the funds to properly feed the animal. But he is one of the lucky ones. Of 250 animals in the entire zoo, there are only 15 still alive.
The zoo opened in 2008 and most of the animals were smuggled illegally into the country from Egypt. The owners hoped that the zoo would provide a change of scenery for the war-torn region and its inhabitants. But when the owners were forced to abandon the region, they left the animals behind. This is what the zoo looks like today.
The government wasn't in a position to help and so left all of the animals to perish. The zoo keepers could barely believe their eyes when it was finally safe to return to the site. These poor animals shouldn't have had to die like this.
The owners decided to stuff some of the dead animals and leave them in their cages. It is a bone-chilling memorial. The dry climate of the region gave the animals a very unique appearance - simultaneously creepy and well preserved.
Each corpse is a reminder of how these creatures must've suffered. And the living are still suffering. The owners don't know how to finance their food and upkeep when they are surrounded by this graveyard.
15 animals survived the neglect but the owners are worried that they too will perish. The zoo keepers are doing their best to try and raise awareness about this tragedy and to save these remaining animals.
How terribly sad. Hopefully the remaining animals are able to survive this crisis. The organization "Four Paws" has created an emergency fundraiser to support these animals and others in Gaza. You can click here to help save a life.