Speaking to AA correspondent, Abdulhadi Hamude, one of the employees of Nema et-Terfihiyye Zoo in Gaza, said that the lionesses in the cage often refuse to breastfeed their cubs and this puts the lives of the newborn cubs in danger.
Noting that in the last 7 years, approximately 80 lion cubs died as a result of their mother’s refusal to breastfeed or being eaten by the mother lion a few hours after they were born, Hamude stated that the zoo officials took the necessary measures to protect the cubs from their birth.
Noting that they separated the three cubs from the lioness by following the lion’s 110-day gestation period and date of birth, Hamude said, “This practice is done to protect the cubs from the lioness that eats them right after birth. After birth, the lioness is placed in a small cage where she cannot move. One of the zoo staff is holding one of the 3 cubs and helping him suckle from the mother lion.” said.
Hamude explained that a lion cub needs to suckle about every hour, and that the zoo staff take care of the lion cubs all day to feed them.
Alternatives tried other than breast milk have not worked
Stating that in the past years, alternatives other than breast milk have been tried in the zoo for feeding the cubs, but they could not get a positive result, Hamude said:
“We had cats, dogs and sheep milk brought in. However, the puppies could not be fed with these. They died after hours or days. We tried this method, in which we put the lioness in a small cage, and it was successful. In this way, we saved the lives of 4 puppies. We believe that these puppies will also hold on to life with this method. “
The Palestinian zookeeper stated that lion cubs need some vaccines and drugs a week after they are born, but these vaccines and drugs imported to Gaza, which is under blockade, are of poor quality, unlike those used abroad.
Hamude noted that the reasons for this were the rising prices of other quality medicines and the difficulty in transporting medicines to the region due to the Israeli blockade that has been going on for more than 15 years.
Stating that the deteriorating economic situation in Gaza also affected livestock, Hamude said, “There are 4 female and 4 male lions in the zoo, apart from the cubs. Each of them eats 15 to 20 kilograms of meat every two days. “However, it is extremely difficult for us to meet this amount. In this case, we use the animals that perished. The sounds of explosions in conflict and attack situations in the region also cause various animals to perish. Animals get sick and die because of these sounds,” he said. he said.
In recent years, the Austrian-based Four Paws animal rights organization has worked to transfer certain animal and bird species from the region to nature reserves in Jordan and Africa in order to prevent the death of animals due to economic and other problems in the besieged Gaza.
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