Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gaza Zoo Adds Stuffed Animals to Its Zebra-Painted Donkeys


One of our first blog posts back in October 2009 was about the Gaza zoo and how they paid an artist to paint two donkeys to look like zebras after their zebras died of neglect during the war between Gaza and Israel last year. 

Now they've gone one step further. When the zoo's lion, tiger, and other animals died, they mummified them and put them back in cages. Visiting children are allowed inside the cages where they can pet the dead animals. 

As the Ibrahim Barzak of the Associated Press reported yesterday:
Flies swarm around some of the 10 animals that have been embalmed so far. The makeshift cages housing the exhibits — fashioned from fencing salvaged from Jewish settlements that Israel dismantled in 2005 — are littered with empty soda cans and other trash.

An emaciated-looking stuffed lion, its coat patchy and mangy, lies on an exhibit cobbled together from crates and shipping pallets. A monkey had missing limbs. A porcupine had a hole in its head.
The zoo's 65 live animals, which include ostriches, monkeys, turtles, deer, a llama, a lion and a tiger, don't fare much better. During a recent visit, children poked chocolate, potato chips and bread through the wire. There's no zookeeper on the premises. Gaza has no government body that oversees zoos, and medical treatment is done by consulting over the phone with zoo veterinarians in Egypt.

Still, the zoo is one of the few places of entertainment here in Khan Younis, a city of 200,000 people at the southern end of the Gaza Strip. It's one of five zoos in the Gaza Strip, a densely populated coastal enclave of 1.7 million people ruled by Islamic Hamas militants.
A 14-year-old boy snapped pictures of the animals with his mobile phone.

“I have been to this place before years ago but this is my first time seeing mummified animals,” he said. “They look like they are asleep. I will print out the pictures of me standing next to the lion and put it on my wall. It will be fun to show it to my younger brothers.”
(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)