New Al Ma’wa Wildlife Reserve in Jordan opens its doors to rescued animals
FOUR PAWS and the Princess Alia Foundation deliver the first residents to their new home
Brussels/Jerash, 4.10.2016 – On the occasion of World Animal Day on 4 October, FOUR PAWS, the international animal welfare organisation, has some good news: a complex operation over several days results in the successful transfer of 7 lions, 2 tigers and a brown bear to their new, species-appropriate home, the Al Ma’wa Wildlife Reserve near Amman. The new residents have arrived safely and are now getting to know their new enclosures. 9 enclosures have been constructed to the highest standards of animal welfare and offer grassland, woods, trees, and ponds to bathe in. A further construction phase will see the whole centre extended to 140 hectares, far larger than any similar establishment in the region.
Heli Dungler, founder and president of FOUR PAWS: “We are very happy, that with the moving in of the first animals the starting signal for this fabulous cooperation project was given. With the Princess Alia Foundation, we have had a strong partner in the region since years and we are glad that now with the setup of the new Al Ma’Wa Wildlife Reserve, we can help even more animals in need.”
The new reserve is part of the Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife organisation, created by FOUR PAWS and Jordan’s Princess Alia Foundation. Alongside protecting mistreated and rescued wild animals, the organisation focuses on raising awareness on the issue of trade in wild animals in Jordan. The project is also supported by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and the 30 Millions d’Amis Foundation.
“It was a huge logistical challenge to transfer so many wild animals in one go, but finally, all animals have settled in their new enclosures and are now recovering from the transport”, reports Dr Amir Khalil, head of the project at FOUR PAWS.
Until now, the animals have been kept at the Al Ma’wa New Hope Centre. The centre is also part of the Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife organisation, and acts as a safe reception station for animals rescued from dreadful keeping conditions. Wild animals, such as big cats or bears - which have only lived in in captivity and can no longer be released into the wild – need a great deal of space and appropriately structured enclosures that allow them to follow their natural instincts and behaviours.
All of the reserve’s initial residents have a touching backstory. They come from illegal private ownership or were abused as visitor attractions in zoos. Until their rescue, they were forced to waste their lives away in tiny enclosures, without appropriate food or medical treatment. Bear Balou is a sad example. He was handed over from zoo to zoo until he could finally be rescued by FOUR PAWS and brought to the Al Ma’wa New Hope Centre. It took Balou a long time to feel safe with his new space and freedoms as he only adventured outside at night. Only after an intensive rehabilitation, he stopped with his stereotypical captive and fearful behaviour and adapted to his outdoor enclosure. At the Al Ma’wa Reserve he has now the chance to rediscover his natural instincts in his large new enclosure, where he can even dig his own den.
FOUR PAWS and the Princess Alia Foundation, founded in 2009 by HRH Princess Alia Al Hussein, have already been collaborating successfully for several years. The two organisations have run several joint projects to help stray animals in Jordan, including an ongoing project to provide urgent relief for the working horses and donkeys in the tourist city of Petra. Now, the new reserve sees them join forces once again to give a beautiful, permanent new home to wild animals in distress.