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Rescued animals from Syrian zoo receive medical care in Turkey


FOUR PAWS plans to save more wild animals from the zoo near Aleppo


Brussels, 24.07.2017 – The first part of FOUR PAWS’ latest rescue mission was successful: the animals evacuated from a neglected zoo located in the crises region close to Aleppo arrived in their temporary home after a 24-hour road trip through Turkey. In an animal protection center in Karacabey near the city of Bursa, the veterinary team of the international animal welfare organization has started the medical examination of the nine wild animals. Depending on the development of the condition of the traumatized and emaciated lions, tigers, bears and hyenas, the journey to their species-appropriate, final home will soon begin. Before this trip starts, the remaining inhabitants of the zoo in the "Magic World" amusement park in Syria are planned to be rescued.


Turkey, Cobanbey | 2017 07 23 | A rapid response team of FOUR PAWS rescued about 11 wild animals trapped in the destroyed Magic World amusement park near Aleppo
© Ahu Savan An | FOUR PAWS 

It has been an arduous but worthwhile journey towards a better future for the three lions, two tigers, two Asian black bears and two hyenas. On Friday 21st July, the international animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS succeeded in evacuating the nine wild animals with the support of international security experts from a war-torn zoo near Aleppo. Now they have finally arrived in their temporary home in an animal protection center in Karacabey, Turkey. "The one-day journey across Turkey was a tiring affair for all of us. Due to the extreme heat, we had to stop every three to four hours to provide the animals with water and check their condition. We are all thrilled that we were able to bring the animals safely to their first destination", says FOUR PAWS veterinarian and head of the mission Dr. Amir Khalil.

© Ahu Savan An | FOUR PAWS

After a first quiet night in the transport cages, the comprehensive examination of the traumatized and minorly injured wild animals started yesterday. "For the first time, these animals are receiving thorough medical examinations by experts working with sophisticated equipment. In addition to blood tests, we will also perform ultrasound examinations on all animals to rule out any damages to internal organs. Furthermore, we will closely check the condition of their eyes, skin, paws and teeth. We expect to complete the check-ups within the next three days", explains the head veterinarian of the Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research Berlin Dr. Frank Göritz, who supports the FOUR PAWS team together with local veterinarians.

© Ahu Savan An | FOUR PAWS 

© Ahu Savan An | FOUR PAWS 

Evacuation of additional animals in Syria

The trip to their species-appropriate, final home is not only dependent on the health development of the wild animals. Firstly, FOUR PAWS is planning to rescue the remaining animals left behind at the zoo in the war-torn Syrian amusement park. "We are currently working hard with our partners to get the remaining animals out of the zoo. If everything goes well, they will reach the Syrian-Turkish border in the coming days. We are not giving up on the animals”, say Dr. Khalil. Once all rescued animals from the “Magic World” zoo are out of Syria, it will be decided where the journey will continue. "FOUR PAWS has some very good options with its own animal sanctuaries, including in Jordan, South Africa and the Netherlands. We will individually decide which place is most suitable for each animal. "

© FOUR PAWS | Jasmine Duthie 

Support from security experts and one major donor

The collaboration with international security experts has contributed significantly to the success of the months-long planned mission in the dangerous war zone. A security team, which is very experienced with operations in Syria, has evacuated the animals from the zoo close to Aleppo and brought them to the Syrian-Turkish border. There they were handed over to the FOUR PAWS rapid response team and taken to Turkey. The challenging rescue mission is financially supported by a donation from the American journalist, business man and animal welfare activist Eric Margolis. "I am very relieved that the first part of the rescue mission has been successful. The poor animals had no way to escape from their barren cages. They were surrounded by exploding bombs and gunfires daily. This mission saved their lives. I hope that the remaining animals will also be safe soon", says Margolis.


FOUR PAWS set up a donation page, where animal lovers from all over the world can help to provide a better future to the animals from Aleppo:







Regular updates about the mission can also be found on the FOUR PAWS channels:

© Ahu Savan An | FOUR PAWS