In 2020, the world gasped in horror at the sight of emaciated lions on the brink of starvation at the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo in Khartoum, Sudan. The zoo had run out of financial resources to feed and care for the animals, and many had already perished because of ongoing malnourishment, poor health and the dire keeping conditions. Those that remained were languishing as the situation continued to worsen. FOUR PAWS immediately stepped in to help.
Arriving in Khartoum
Having carried out prior successful missions in crisis and conflict zones, the experienced FOUR PAWS Rapid Response Rescue (RRR) team, led by Veterinarian Amir Khalil, embarked on a reconnaissance mission to the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo in January 2020. It was evident that the animals were suffering, and on-site medical examinations revealed the extent to which they would need special treatment, immediately and long-term. The big cats, lioness Kandaka and lion Mansour, were in critical condition and diagnosed as having irreversible organ damage due to severe dehydration, malnourishment, and neglect. Their treatment began immediately, with round-the-clock care and infusion therapy.
After several weeks of intense medical treatments and proper food and care, the FOUR PAWS team left Sudan to begin preparations for the transfer of Kandaka and Mansour to a species-appropriate home, where they would receive special medical treatment and monitoring for the rest of their lives.
Our hands are tied
Then COVID-19 hit Sudan. Pandemic and travel restrictions prevented the RRR team from entering the country and brought the mission to a halt. For the time being, all FOUR PAWS could do was maintain its commitment to provide food and medical treatments for the animals left in the care of local animal welfare partners and volunteers.
A race against time
The pandemic coupled with an unstable political situation in Sudan put the mission on hold until November 2022. The lions' survival hung in the balance.
After two challenging years full of highs and lows, the mission culminated in the rescue of the starving animals at the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo and the transfer of lioness Kandaka and lion Mansour to their new species appropriate home in Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife in Jordan.
Update: March 2023
Since November 2022, Kandaka and Mansour have settled in extremely well at their new species-appropriate home and enjoy the professional care of an experienced team. Now for the first time ever, they have seen, touched and smelled snow at their new enclosure in Jordan.