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Animals evacuated from Aleppo zoo

July 29, 2017

An international animal welfare charity has evacuated several animals stranded at a zoo in Aleppo. The animals had been neglected during the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Syria destruction
Image: picture alliance/Zumapress

At least nine animals were rescued from the Aalim al-Sahar (Magic World) zoo in Aleppo and taken to safety and care in neighboring Turkey. The small group of rescued animals included two bears, two hyenas, two tigers and two lions.

Last surviving animals in Mosul zoo
Animal welfare is increasingly becoming a concern in war-torn parts of the Middle East; earlier this year, this lion and bear were rescued from a zoo in Mosul in neighboring IraqImage: picture-alliance/ZUMAPRESS.com/G. Romero

Having survived six years of clashes in Aleppo, the animals arrived at a rehabilitation center in Turkey's northwestern province of Bursa after traveling 1,100 kilometers (675 miles), where they will be examined.

The project was a joint effort between the Turkish environment ministry and the international animal charity Four Paws.

"We will check the blood, we will do ultrasound and we will do an eye exam, and then we will have a real idea of what is the situation and status," wildlife veterinarian Frank Goeritz said. "And then we can continue our mission to bring them to a final destination."

New homes abroad

Four Paws said it planned to conduct further animal evacuations from the zoo in the beleaguered Syrian city in coming days, ensuring that "there will be no more animals left at the zoo in the Magic World amusement park."

The animals are planned to have permanent homes in sanctuaries in the Netherlands, South Africa and Jordan.

The UN estimates that more than 400,000 people have been killed in Aleppo since the war first broke out. Hostilities have recently quieted down as the Syrian army regained control over the city.

Aleppo: First train ride in years

ss/bk (AP, AFP, Reuters)