From The New Arab on March 4th:
The zoo in Taiz is desperately trying to save 281 animals. It’s currently home to several rare and endangered species:
- 28 Arabian leopards (maybe as few as 48 in the wild)
- 20 Barbary lions (thought to be descendants of lions gifted by Ethiopia’s emperor in 1953)
- Arabian Onyx (one was killed by shrapnel in Saudi-led coaltion airstrike)
The zookeeper reports that everything was fine before the war started in 2015 and the animals were well-fed.
There was a grassroots initiative set-up to raise money to feed the animals in the zoo, but that was stopped last year in hopes of pressuring Yemen to evacuate the animals. No international organizations would fund the zoo until the animals are moved.
Currently, the animals are at risk of malnutrition and disease.
Recently, on March 17th, Yemen’s Al-Thawra news agency wrote a report on the conditions in Taiz city and visited the zoo.
They visited because they heard about the conditions in the zoo and the famine the animals are experiencing, but they reported the zoo is doing well and they witnessed the birth of a couple of tigers. The city’s governor is credited with good leadership for improving conditions and cleanliness at the zoo. The visitors enjoyed seeing all the animals and beautiful scenery while at the zoo.
Two very different accounts on conditions at the zoo less than two weeks apart.
تعز / Taiz
حديقة حيوان / hadiqat hiwan / zoo
فهد / fahd / leopard
أسد / ‘asad / lion
نمر / namurr / tiger