Unfortunately, experience has shown that people can go to great lengths just to gain profit, and animals are often their victims. Humans can be extremely inhumane, I’m afraid.
In an attempt to boost business, a Palestinian zoo declawed a 14-month-old lioness to bait visitors into visiting the zoo on the premise of being able to play and interact with her.
The inhumane incident took place in the Rafah zoo, due to a lack of proper veterinary facilities in the war-torn Gaza strip.
The zoo has been suffering from low visitor rates and its owner believed that this stunt would generate more traffic. While the incident did draw more attention to the zoo, all of the responses are in outrage and disbelief.
The savage act was carried out on the then-14-month-old animal, named Falestine, earlier this year in February. Falestine was tranquilized and shrouded before being hoisted onto a table, so veterinarian Fayez al-Haddad could swiftly get to work.
He clipped off her claws, one by one, with a pair of shears, before sewing her up.
Several days later, Haddad subjected her to additional torture so he could complete the job.
The owner of the zoo, Mohammed Jumaa, 53, and Haddad both seem to be morally unaffected by the act. Yet, you do not need much imagination to understand the horrors the animal experienced.
The Four Paws charity claims the procedure is tantamount to chopping off a person’s fingers up to their knuckles. It explained:
“For big cats, removing the claws is a particularly vicious procedure which causes long-lasting damage. Natural behavior, such as grabbing food or climbing, is hardly possible without an animal’s claws. Since the amputation was not done in a proper vet clinic, the chance of infection is high.”
The Rafah Zoo opened twenty years ago, and is situated near the border of Egypt in the southernmost part of the Gaza strip.
The zoo closed its doors after an Israeli army bulldozing operation back in 2004 completely destroyed it. Before that, the lives of numerous animals were claimed by the war thanks to rocket attacks and such.
Two years ago, Jumaa re-established it, and opened it for business.
According to Four Paws, the conditions at the zoo are monstrous.
Four newborn lion cubs were carelessly left to freeze to death, while over 49 others are trapped in pitiful enclosures.
The zoo currently houses 49 animals including five lions, a hyena, several monkeys, wolves, emus, cats, dogs, and exotic birds in pitiful enclosures.
The charity also maintains that animals are regularly smuggled to and from Gaza through underground tunnels that connect to the zoo.
They demanded that it be shut down for its horrific past record with the animals — they are often confined to tiny, unkempt cages.
Only time will tell what will become of the unfortunate lioness. Advocates of animal welfare were outraged to find out about the incident, and many will perhaps intervene.
The act of declawing the lioness is not at all horrifying for Jumma, who casually stated, “I’m trying to reduce the aggression of the lioness so it can be friendly with visitors.”
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident and may soon be accompanied by many more, so if left unchecked, this unconventional animal care practice could have worrying consequences.
Four Paws explained in a post to Instagram that it was campaigning for the zoo’s closure “where over 40 more animals are kept in horrible conditions.” The charity added:
“Our team already started negotiations with the relevant authorities. They urgently need our help! We’ll keep you updated about this case!”
What most people thought of when learning about this horrible and savage act was that the removal of the claws of the animal was a completely unnecessary thing to do, as there’s no need for people to ‘play’ with animals which should be out in the wild.
Yet, Haddad said he has watched Falestine’s behavior closely when, on February 12, the maimed lioness was briefly taken out of her cage and forced to be near visitors at the zoo, including children.
“The claws were cut so that they would not grow fast and visitors and children could play with her. We want to bring smiles and happiness to children while increasing the number of visitors to the park, which suffers from high expenses.”
He added that she does not lose its innate nature, and will not give up her offensive instincts.
He stated that the sheared off claws typically grow back in 6 months.
When she was released from the cage, even though she was in great pain, the lioness played with zookeepers. Yet, they plan to let some more time pass before allowing her to interact with visitors.