The only surviving tiger at the ‘world’s worst zoo’ makes a full recovery two months after being rescued from Gaza animal park
- Photos emerge of Laziz – Gaza Animal Park’s last tiger – in fine physical condition
- Big cat was rescued from Gaza zoo in 2016 after international outcry in 2014
- Dozens of creatures wasted away at impoverished Khan Younis zoo in Gaza strip
New photos show tiger Laziz, who was rescued from the ‘world’s worst zoo’ in 2016 after being starved for two months, is now happy again at a safe sanctuary.
Laziz was the only big cat still alive in the Khan Younis zoo in Gaza when he was rescued two years after international outcry over the zoo’s conditions.
The zoo, which has since been closed down, was partly destroyed by bombs during the conflict between Israel and Gaza.
New photos show Laziz in his element after spending nearly a decade of his life in a decrepit cage
It was dubbed the ‘worst zoo in the world’ after Laziz was relocated to LionsRock – a sanctuary for big cats – in South Africa and has settled well in spite of his difficult beginnings.
His new South African home is over 1,000 times the size of the cage that Laziz was kept in before.
Laziz was first captured as a young cub in Egypt and smuggled across the border to Gaza. It was not until animal charity Four Paws safely rescued him in 2016 that he could return to the African continent.
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Laziz was relocated to LionsRock – a sanctuary for big cats – in South Africa and has settled well in spite of his difficult beginnings
A bird’s eye shot of Laziz’s new home in South Africa where the big cat will be able to wander freely
Four Paws veterinary surgeon, Dr Amir Khalil, said: ‘So many people have followed the progress of our mission eagerly and shown their solidarity with Laziz and the other animals.
‘We are happy that we were finally able to close down Khan Younis Zoo.
‘Laziz was subjected to mortar and grenade strikes that wiped out almost all the zoo’s inhabitants and survived nearly two months without food.
‘And in a particularly macabre turn of events, his partner was even mummified when she died and was kept in Laziz’s enclosure.
Dozens of neglected animals died at the zoo after the facility’s owner claimed he was unable to feed or care for them because of the Israeli Palestinian conflict
Laziz, the only big cat left in the zoo, was fortunate to not end up like these mummified animals
Gaza Animal Park was dubbed the ‘worst zoo in the world’ after photographs of the starving animals were released to the global media
While the zoo was active, horrifying images emerged of mummified animal corpses who had been neglected by zookeepers since the start of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
With no government body in Gaza to monitor the zoos, and no animal rights movement in the region, the Khan Younis facility was left completely abandoned.
Apex predators were reduced to skeletons and Laziz, the only big cat left in the zoo, was lucky to escape with his life.
Laziz’s new South African home is over 1,000 times the size of the cage that the big cat was kept in before
‘Laziz was subjected to mortar and grenade strikes that wiped out almost all the zoo’s inhabitants and survived nearly two months without food,’ said Dr Khalil
Now Laziz enjoys the company of 18 other tigers at LionsRock and is allowed to wander freely within the enclosure.
‘It’s safe to say that few animals on earth have been through as much as this tiger has,’ Dr Khalil said.
‘Laziz is now settling into life at LionsRock and whilst he is still traumatised by his past life, he is doing well.’
Laziz surveilling his new territory in LionsRock, a sanctuary for big cats
The last tiger in his cage at Gaza zoo, where animals wasted away from starvation and dehydration
His new diet allowed the tiger to make a full recovery following years of neglect at the Gaza zoo
‘Laziz is now settling into life at LionsRock and whilst he is still traumatised by his past life, he is doing well,’ said Dr Khalil
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