The victims of the Israel-Palestine conflict have been proven to be much more than the innocent civilians who are considered as collateral damage. The age old war that has claimed thousands of lives over the years has turned uglier and is proving itself cause for a greater pain to the ecosystem in general. In fact, the gruesome happenings at zoos across Gaza will leave you with a pit in your stomach.
This is what the Gaza zoos looks like now.
There is a constant tussle between the IDF and Palestinian radical groups that have been affecting Gaza for years.
And civilians are not the only beings suffering the onslaught of this war. A number of zoos in the Gaza region and their inmates have been facing the wrath of this violence in untold ways. Zoos, in my opinion are an incredibly disheartening and almost useless establishment, to begin with. Apart from just bad management and infrastructure, having caged animals in a war stricken zone is an extremely bad decision that doesn’t need to be brought to light more than once.
Years of ongoing conflict between the two organisations have tainted the zoos of Gaza with a grizzly sight.
Dozens of zoo animals have now been left mummified and frozen in what seems to have been a harrowing and painful death. Suffering neglect and hunger, the body count within the zoos of Gaza is rising with each passing day.
The leading cause of deaths is starvation due to inadequate care-taking caused by the ongoing civil conflict.
The South Forest Park that started back in 2007 is one such example. Founded by Mohammed Awaida, who invested lakhs into creating the establishment, the zoo lost an enormous number of animals within the fist year when 3 weeks of continuous attacks left Awaida incapable of attending to the animals. The animals eventually succumbed to starvation in a heart-wrenching manner.
This inability to provide adequate care has devastated zoos all over Gaza.
Awaida’s zoo is just one of many zoos who have lost dozens and dozens of animals in the wake of this war. The Al-Bisan zoo in Beit Lahia has only 20 of the original 100, left alive. And, with very little activism regarding animal rights, or related officials, the Khan Younis zoo has lost almost all of its animal members, having been left almost completely unsupervised.
The mummification is carried out by Awaida as part of a ritual.
It is common practice to stuff and mummify animals that lost their lives, and return them to the zoo, as a token gesture. Awaida uses formaldehyde and sawdust to preserve the dead animals. “The idea to mummify animals started after the Gaza war because animals like the lion, the tiger, monkeys and crocodiles died. So we asked around and learned from the web how to start,” he said in an interview with the DailyMail.
It seems as if there is no end in sight to this horrid story.
With present circumstances under play the number of mummies in the zoos are fast outgrowing the number of live animals. The condition is so bad, in fact, that back in 2009 one Gaza zoo had to paint black stripes on white donkeys to replace the lost Zebras.
It feels like we are closer to the end of times now more than ever before.