UPDATE: Extending a Lifeline to Animals at Libya's Tripoli Zoo
Despite the incredible challenges surrounding relief efforts in Libya at the moment, International Fund for Animal Welfare aid managed to reach the Tripoli Zoo just yesterday. The much-awaited confirmation came to us from our staff member Hedia Baccar currently in Tunisia. Hedia has been in constant communication with the Zoo’s Director Dr. Abdel Fattah to identify the pressing needs animals are facing.
The critical life line that IFAW has been able to establish will address priority number one which is providing food to the more than 1000 animals that survive in the zoo.
As many of you have probably seen in the news, the zoo is adjacent to Gadhafi’s former compound of Bab al-Aziziya in the heart of Tripoli. This was the scene of recent fighting in which the NATO-backed National Transitional Council (NTC) rebels took control of the city.
Lions, hyenas, hippos, deer, monkeys and many other animals survived the cross-fire but were left with the consequences of war. It didn’t take long for crisis to set in: fearing for their lives, many of the zoo’s staff abandoned the area, the food and water supply channels disappeared and extended power outages in the city disabled the zoo’s refrigerators which kept veterinary medications cool under the scorching heat.
IFAW emergency funds have started to help cover the estimated $2,000 dollars a day needed to keep the animal fed. Fortunately, according to information received in the last 24hrs, animals have enough water to drink. At the moment we are working hard to get animal medicines into Tripoli and are in close contact with other animal welfare organizations and the zoo community to provide long-term support for these animals.
We have experience in dealing with crisis like the one that Tripoli is facing right now but every situation is different. Although we recently assisted the Tunis Zoo and animal protection groups active during the uprising in Egypt, this response presents several new challenges. Back in 2003 we deployed a five-person team to the Baghdad Zoo and worked for weeks to ensure the well-being of more than 400 animals. While similarities exist, security in Libya is still a major concern when considering deploying teams. After all, the war is not over.
Today we’ve taken an important step in the right direction and for the animals at the Tripoli Zoo, we hope the worst of their days have passed.
Please go to www.ifaw.org and donate to help the animals at the Tripoli Zoo.