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FOUR PAWS returns to “worst zoo in the world” in Gaza

Laziz, Gaza's last tiger, has safely arrived in our Big Cat Sanctuary LIONSROCK.
© FOUR PAWS | Bogdan Baraghin

Update, 2016 August 25 - All animals have arrived safe and sound

Laziz was the last of 15 animals to arrive in his new home. Around 5 pm (South African time) he was released into his adaption enclosure. This special enclosure is tinier than his final home to offer him enough time to get to know his new environment and slowly settle. When he's ready, he will be released into his huge enclosure. 

We arrived Jordan around midnight with 9 animals that couldn't wait to finally be released.
© FOUR PAWS | 2016

Update, 2016 August 25 - 14 out of 15 animals arrived in their new home

Apart from Laziz all animals have safely arrived in their new home. It was late at night, when we finally crossed the boarder to Jordan. Immediately upon our arrival at New Hope Centre we released the remaining 9 animals in their temporary enclosures. The New Hope Centre is part of the organisation Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife, which was founded by us and the Princess Alia Foundation. As soon as our huge sanctuary "Al Ma'wa" is ready, the animals from Khan Younis Zoo will move into their species-appropriate enclosures there.


Laziz’s flight touched down in Johannesburg at 9:30 am. Our team from LIONSROCK Lodge & Big Cat Sanctuary is prepared excitedly awaiting his arrival. His crate will now be loaded onto our truck and will head to LIONSROCK. In a few hours, he will finally touch the sandy ground of our Big Cat Sanctuary LIONSROCK.


We are overwhelmed by the support and compassion we received the last couple of days from you! Without all of you this rescue wouldn't have been possible. Without you, Khan Younis Zoo wouldn't have been closed forever. Without you, no future rescues will be possible! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support! And thank you for always believing in us!


If you want to support us and the animals from Khan Younis Zoo further, we appreciate your donation: 

Our FOUR PAWS team has crossed the boarder to Israel today early morning with a truck full of animals.
© FOUR PAWS | 2016

Update, 2016 August 24 - The longest day ever

It was probably one of the longest days in our lives, but it was so worth it. Yesterday we headed to Khan Younis Zoo for the very last time at 5:30 am to take care of the animals. Shortly after 11 pm, we were finally done with loading the 15 animals waiting in the world's worst zoo to be rescue. But the day was not over yet. Throughout the night we guarded the truck with the 15 animals in their crates. On the one hand to protect them, on the other to monitor their vital signs regularley and see if they are well.


After a night without any sleep, we were ready to head to the boarder at 5 am. Shortly after 7 am, we accompanied the truck full of animals crossed the boarder to Israel. The animals from Khan Younis Zoo have finally left Gaza forever. Now, a new chapter in their lives is about to start. The majority of them will find a temporary home in a protection centre called New Hope, which is part of an organisation founded by FOUR PAWS and the Princess Alia Foundation – Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife.

The last animals left Khan Younis Zoo yesterday night. Here two monkeys are carried to their transport boxes.
© FOUR PAWS | 2016


Laziz’s journey will not come to an end so early. Today, he will be medically checked by our vets in Israel, loaded in a new transport crate and finally head to South Africa in the late evening. Tomorrow, we expect Gaza’s last tiger to arrive in our Big Cat Sanctuary LIONSROCK.


To be continued…


Today is not only about celebrations, it also time to finally say „Thank You“ to all of you who supported our work. Without you this rescue wouldn’t been possible. Thank you for your dedication, your love and you unbinding will of helping animals. Thank you from the botton of our hearts.


There are more animals on this world awaiting us to come and help. If you want to give: 

Update, 2016 August 23 - Loading the animals into their transport box 


With a full day of work ahead of us, our day started early in the morning at Khan Younis Zoo. We have to leave Gaza tomorrow at 6am and therefore had to start loading the animals in their transport crate today.


Laziz made a start and went into his transport crate without hesitation. He even seems to behave more calm in the crate now more than he has in his desolate cage. Laziz has not been anesthetize due to the fact that he will have to get a medical check and move to another crate before departing to South Africa, for this procedure he will be anesthetized. From an animal welfare perspective it cannot be recommended to anesthetize a tiger two times within such a short period of time. For animals an anaesthesia always means stress for the body. We of course want to avoid that.


Nevertheless, we were really sceptical whether our plan for Laziz to walk into his crate will really work. During our last tiger transfer in April 2015, Cromwell, one of the six tigers, walked in his crate by himself. But he was specially trained by an wild animal trainer for months to do so. This time, no training was possible and we could only count on the will of Laziz to cooperate. And he just did it as if he has never done anything else in his life. He walked in the crate and immediately settled down – without showing any signs of stress. We were relieved.


Laziz’s crate will be cooled with ice and a fan all day long. In our experience – based on several tiger transports – tigers usually remain very calm in their transport crates. Seems like Laziz is following this good example.

Laziz, Gaza's last tiger, is already relaxing in his crate and ready to leave Gaza tomorrow morning.
© FOUR PAWS | 2016

The other animals already partially in boxes

The first big step is done. Laziz is fine and everything went smoothly. For us, however, the work just began. The monkeys were first. They were anesthetized, medically treated, vaccinated and then placed in their transport boxes, where they could wake up in peace. Currently, our team is just busy with the turtles, the emu, porcupines, to load the Pelican the deer and the eagle buzzards. For regular updates follow our social media channels Facebook and Instagram


We are very pleased, if you want to support our rescue mission. Even after the animals have left the Gaza Strip, they are of course still need our help:

This baby deer died shortly before our arrival at Khan Younis Zoo.
© FOUR PAWS | 2016

Update, 2016 August 22 - FOUR PAWS team arrived in Gaza


Sad news from Khan Younis Zoo in Gaza: Baby deer dies shortly before arrival of FOUR PAWS rescue team 


Sad news from Khan Younis Zoo in Gaza: Sadly, the help of the FOUR PAWS rescue team arrived too late for one of the animals. On Thursday, upon his arrival in Amman, Jordan, FOUR PAWS mission Team Lead, veterinarian Dr. Amir Khalil received news from  Gaza that one of the animals, a baby deer, had died. It had been injured and the wound got inflamed so badly that the deer died from complications. Local vets had tried their best to treat the animal immediately, but they unfortunately did not have the necessary expertise and medicine to provide the proper care for the already severely weakened deer, which was kept in a desolate cage under very bad keeping conditions. ”This tragic incident shows how urgent the emergency situation at Khan Younis really is”, says our FOUR PAWS vet and mission leader Dr. Khalil. “The supply situation and infrastructure are in such a bad state that the animals’ lives are at high risk. We need to get them urgently out of here.” Amir Khalil has already rescued three lions from Al Bisan Zoo and two baby lions from a refugee camp in Gaza and transferred them to Jordan. 


Please help our team on site! We have to rescue the animals now! 

Animals will be transferred to Jordan & South Africa

Arrangements are being made to accommodate most of the animals, such as the tortoises, the pelican and the emu, in Jordan’s ‘New Hope Centre’ for rescued animals. The centre is part of the organisation Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife, which is  run jointly by FOUR PAWS and the Princess Alia Foundation. However, as the facility currently has no enclosure for a big cat, tiger Laziz has a somewhat longer journey ahead. For him, accommodations were made at FOUR PAWS’ Big Cat Sanctuary LIONSROCK in South Africa. 

Two turtles, a pelican and two porcupines have been removed to bigger enclosures at Khan Younis Zoo, Gaza.
© FOUR PAWS | 2016

Update, 2016 June 14 - Relocation of some animals to bigger enclosures 

Yesterday, our mission in Gaza was packed with veterinary examinations, food supplies and even some relocations. After providing veterinary treatment and food to the two, extremely hungry, turtles, we relocated them to a bigger enclosure, where they are able to move around properly, which they immediately did. It was extremely moving for us to watch these big, ponderous animals starting to move their huge shells along the dusty ground. From the way they responded to their new found space, it seems they had a real longing to move around.

This deer is expecting a baby very soon, our vet Dr. Amir Khalil found out during examination.
© FOUR PAWS | 2016

Furthermore, the deer was checked thoroughly by our vets and surprisingly it turned out that she is pregnant and will give birth soon. We’ll prepare everything for the welcome of the baby deer, as this might happen after our departure. Nevertheless, mother and baby seem to be healthy.


We also relocated a pelican and the two porcupines, whose enclosures had caused us the most concern as they were among the tiniest our team had ever seen. They could hardly move and, like the two turtles, they immediately started to run around in their larger enclosure upon their release.


Our team will leave Gaza today, but we’ve met with the responsible people on site and arranged to help beyond our departure. Food is provided for the animals and we are here for the animals when our help is needed…


If you would like to help the animals in Gaza, please support our work:


Find more pictures from our team on site on Facebook and Instagram

Laziz, Gaza's last tiger, has recovered well due to our constant food supplies.
© FOUR PAWS | 2016

Update, 2016 June 13 - Tireless work for Gaza's zoo animals 

After a successful mission to provide health checks and veterinary treatment for the remaining animals in Gaza’s Khan Younis Zoo, FOUR PAWS will leave Gaza in the next couple of days. Although unable to stay longer, we will continue to supply food and medicines. As the zoo struggled financially during winter, we kept our promise to help the animals by the ongoing provision of food. And our help obviously was effective, as Laziz, Gaza’s last tiger, who had been in very bad condition, clearly had recovered strength over the past couple of months. As suggested may be so, our FOUR PAWS vet and mission leader, Amir Khalil, decided not to sedate Laziz for closer examination, as observations from outside his cage showed no physical abnormalities to cause concern.


Despite previous visits to Khan Younis Zoo, our team will find it difficult to return to daily work. The images and experiences will remain with them for a long time. Khan Younis Zoo, which has been referred to as Gaza’s most beautiful zoo in the past, is lost and broken.


If you would like to help the animals in Gaza, please support our


Find more pictures from our team on site on Facebook and Instagram

Our team is on buying food for the animals at Khan Younis Zoo, Gaza, at a local market.
© FOUR PAWS | 2016

Update, 2016 June 9 - FOUR PAWS returns to Khan Younis Zoo in Gaza

International animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has returned to Gaza to help animals at the Khan Younis Zoo, which has been referred toby the media as the “worst zoo in the world”. After two successful rescue missions and several emergency food deliveries in the past, FOUR PAWS is now entering the Gaza Strip again to conduct a veterinary check-up of the animals at Khan Younis Zoo. 

A FOUR PAWS team is on its way to the Gaza Strip.
© FOUR PAWS | 2016

FOUR PAWS provided food over last couple of months

Since the zoo was struggling financially during the winter months, FOUR PAWS provided food deliveries for the 15 animals still living under devastating conditions in the tiny enclosures, many of which have been damaged by past bombing. One of the animals is Laziz, believed to be the last tiger living in the Gaza Strip.


The main focus of our current mission is on providing veterinary treatment of the animals living in Khan Younis Zoo. Moreover, a security check of the enclosures will be carried out to identify potential risks not only for the animals but for the people living nearby. We also want to evaluate which measures can be undertaken to further help the animals on site. “It’s clear to us that the animals in Khan Younis Zoo need our help. During this mission we aim to gather as much information as possible about them so that we can hopefully find a sustainable, long-term solution for all of them,” explains Dr. Amir Khalil, mission leader of the current FOUR PAWs mission. Right now, it’s hard to say what this solution could be…

Dieses Bild zeigt Tiger Laziz, den noch letzten in Gaza lebenden Tiger aus dem Khan Younis Zoo.
© FOUR PAWS | 2016

Updates via social media

The FOUR PAWS team will stay in Gaza for around three days. We’ll keep you updated about any developments and news we get from our team members on site via our social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and – if possible – also Snapchat.