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Rapid Response in Syria


© Ahu Savan An | FOUR PAWS

UPDATE, 2017/14/08

Less than 12 hours after our arrival in Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife lioness Dana went into labour. She fortunately gave birth to a baby cub!!!


Our team on site was very concerned about whether the lioness would accept the cub or kill it, as this is what lions sometimes do when they are under enormous stress. But luckily that wasn’t the case. She cleaned the cub and nursed it. This is a true sign that she feels safe at Al Ma’wa.

UPDATE, 2017/12/08

After 4 weeks of tirelessly preparations and work, we started to release the wild animals of Aleppo zoo into new rehabilitation enclosures at Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife. For wild animals, who have lived in small cages their whole lives, this process of settling down is necessary to not overwhelm them. As soon as they are used to their bigger homes, they will be released in species-appropriate, huge enclosures.


For the tigers this is a temporary stop as they will be rehombed in our FELIDA Big Cat Centre once they are ready to travel to the Netherlands. They definitely need special treatment, which we can perfectly offer them in FELIDA.

This is one of the lions - the female one - we could evacuate from "Magic World" zoo near Aleppo.
© FOUR PAWS | Ahu Savan San

UPDATE, 2017/29/07

A happy ending for the remaining zoo animals from Syria: the international animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS, together with the Turkish Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, Turkish volunteers and security experts, has managed to evacuate four more animals, including two lions and two dogs, from the “Magic World” amusement park near Aleppo. Just over a week ago, nine other animals were rescued from the same zoo; with the latest rescue, all thirteen abandoned animals from the Syrian zoo have arrived in Turkey. There they will receive medical treatment in the wildlife rescue center Karacabey until they are fit enough to be transported to a species-appropriate home.


Here's our press release!

This is one of the dogs we have rescued from Aleppo zoo yesteday night.
© FOUR PAWS | Ahu Savan San

UPDATE, 2017/26/07:

Medical examinations are fully underway


our on-site team, together with Dr. Frank Göritz of the IZW, have their hands full checking and chipping the animals. The three lions, two tigers, two hyenas and two Asian black bears, which were rescued from a zoo near Aleppo, will continue their trip once their health permits. At the moment the nine animals are in Karacabey (Turkey), where they are being cared for. We'll keep you updated!


You can find more updates on our Facebook page:

© FOUR PAWS | Ahu Savan An, FOUR PAWS | Jasmine Duthie

FOUR PAWS rescues animals near war-torn city of Aleppo

We have once again launched a high-risk rescue operation in the Middle East. In collaboration with security experts nine abandoned animals were evacuated from the amusement park "Magic World" located in the crisis area around Aleppo. Despite intense battles in Syria in the recent days, the truck with starving and suffering tigers, bears, lions and hyenas managed to reach the Syria-Turkey border. From there, the animals have started their journey to an animal rescue center in Karacabey close to the city of Bursa, where they will temporarily stay to receive proper medical treatment. More wild animals are still trapped in the destroyed zoo and are expected to arrive at the border in the coming days.

9 animals could be rescued from their bombed-out home near Aleppo

This time the lives of several animals, including three lions (two females and one male), two tigers (one female and one male), two Asian black bears (one female and one male) and two hyenas (one female and one male), from a neglected zoo near Aleppo in Syria are at risk. "The ongoing war has taken its toll on the animals. The lack of water, food and veterinary care has left the animals physically and psychologically traumatized. Several animals were also killed by severe bombings. There was no way for them to escape from this deadly trap. With our mission, we want to spread the message that humanity cannot be divided and that these suffering animals deserve to be heard and seen", says FOUR PAWS veterinarian and head of the mission Dr. Amir Khalil. So, it was clear to him that they had to leave the zoo as soon as possible: "The ever-deteriorating situation of the animals worried us. Also, wild animals such as bears and big cats, trapped in desolate enclosures, can quickly pose a threat to humans.”

The traumatized animals are in need of medical care

The first rescued animals are all exhausted and dehydrated. Some of them suffer from minor wounds but no serious injuries. The FOUR PAWS team provided them with water and immediately, the animals began to feel better. They have started their journey, which has been supported by Turkish animal welfare activists, to an animal protection center in Karacabey close to the city of Bursa. As soon as all animals will have arrived there, FOUR PAWS will start the medical treatment. Once their health condition allows, the former zoo animals will be transferred to a new and species-appropriate home. 

Support by American major donor

The challenging rescue mission is financially supported by a donation from the American journalist, business man and animal welfare activist Eric Margolis. "I am very relieved that the first part of the rescue mission has been successful. The poor animals had no way to escape from their barren cages. They were surrounded by exploding bombs and gunfires daily. This mission saved their lives. I hope that the remaining animals will also be safe soon", says Margolis.