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Eighty-Six Animals In Gaza's Zoo Died During The War With Israel

Just 20 animals remain, including a pregnant lioness.

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Eighty-six animals in Bissan City Zoo in northern Gaza died from starvation, pollution, and other hazards during the seven weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas this summer, according to Four Paws, an international animal welfare organization.

More than 2,000 Palestinians died during the conflict in July and August, which also left much of Gaza destroyed. Amid the human turmoil and death, a minor tragedy was playing out at the zoo.

Handout / Reuters

Back in Nov. 2013, two cubs died at at Bissan Zoo three days after their birth. In 2008, during another war between Israel and Gaza, Israeli air shells landed near Bissan Zoo, killing almost all the animals.

Four Paws arrived Sept. 14 in Gaza to treat animals at the zoo. The organization is trying to get permits to transfer the remaining lions to neighboring Jordan, Wim Dekok, Executive director of the Four Paws’ Boston office, told BuzzFeed News.

Handout / Reuters

Dr. Amir Khalil (in dark blue uniform) checks the medical condition of a lion on Sept. 14.


Dekok estimated the emergency operation could cost anywhere between 20,000 and and 100,000 USD, depending on their options for treating the animals.

Handout / Reuters

Here, Dr. Amir Khalil of Four Paws, pictured right, treats the injured wing of a vulture on Sept. 14.

Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor

Contact Miriam Berger at

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