A malnourished lioness from the Khartoum zoo, January 19, 2020. - ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP
Numerous calls circulate Sunday on social networks in Sudan to save five African lions "malnourished and sick". The big cats are gathered in Al-Qureshi Park, located in a wealthy district of the Sudanese capital, and have suffered for weeks from lack of food and medicine.
"I was overwhelmed when I saw these lions with protruding bones," Osman Salih wrote on Facebook with the hashtag #Sudananimalrescue ("saving the animals of Sudan"), launching the start of a support campaign to help. to felines. “I urge people and institutions who feel concerned to help them. "
Influx of visitors
According to park officials, who mainly depend on grants from the municipality, and veterinarians, the health of the five animals has deteriorated in recent weeks and some have lost two thirds of their body mass. "Food is not always accessible and we often have to buy it with our own money," said Agence France-Presse (AFP) Issameddine Hajjar, one of the park's managers.
On Sunday, a crowd of citizens, volunteers and journalists flocked to the Khartoum zoo, where the animals live. One of the five deer, suffering from dehydration, was attached to a leash and fed by infusion while pieces of meat full of flies were scattered on the ground near the cages, according to an AFP journalist on the spot. Another staff member said that the general deterioration in the state of the park affects animal health. "They suffer from serious illnesses, they are sick and seem to be malnourished," said Moataz Mahmoud, one of the guards.
A "vulnerable" species
The number of lions in Sudan is not known, but several are gathered in Dinder Park, on the border with Ethiopia. Lions are a "vulnerable" species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Their population in Africa fell by 43% between 1993 and 2014 and only 20,000 survive today.
One year and one month after the start of an uprising against the deposed President Omar el-Bashir in April, Sudan is facing a serious economic crisis, partly fueled by 20 years of the American embargo (1997-2017), due for his alleged support for Islamist groups.
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- Animal protection