Lion Low In Gaza

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And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

– Isaiah Chapter 11, verse 6

It already seemed like we are far from from this prophecy of peace in the end of days, since the little child is preoccupied.

And now, in a further blow, the young lions were recently given names representing fighting Israel..and are now dead.



Getty Images
Getty Images

Gaza authorities say two newborn lion cubs just unveiled by Hamas as prized additions in a zoo they run have died only two days after reports advertised their birth.

Mohammad Abdel-Rahman, the acting manager of the Beit Lahiya zoo in northern Gaza, said Thursday the cubs died of an unspecified illness.

According to Abdel-Rahman, the zoo’s staff was unable to save them because they lacked experience in caring for newborn cubs.

Hamas unveiled the cubs – a male and a female – and named them for last year’s war between Hamas militants and Israel. One was named Fajr after an Iranian-type missile used in the fighting. The other was called Sejil for the name of the campaign.

Their mother, a four-year-old African lioness, was smuggled into Gaza via tunnels from Egypt and the cubs were born less than a week after the first anniversary of the eight-day Pillar of Defense conflict between Hamas and Israel in November 2012.

Nahed al-Majdub, head of the “Bissan” amusement park, set up by the Hamas-run interior ministry said of their birth, “It is the first time lions have been born in the Gaza Strip.”

Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, congratulated itself on having smuggled the cubs’ parents past the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The group said on Twitter that “Despite Israel’s unjust siege, Palestinians managed to smuggle these two lions to draw a smile on faces of Gaza kids.”

Gaza zoos have a spotty animal welfare record.

Spotty animal welfare record? I see what Ynet did there.

Meanwhile, had Hamas actually turned towards Israel for help, chances are the lion cubs would still be alive.

Update: I should have known Israel would be blamed.

Zoo officials gave several possible reasons the baby lions — said to be the first to have been born in the often gritty conditions of Gaza — failed to survive.

First, their mother, an African lioness smuggled in along with the father in 2008, refused to feed the cubs. Instead, the zookeepers bottle-fed them regular milk. Then on Tuesday an Israeli warplane dropped three bombs on an Islamic Jihad training base in northern Gaza, not far from the zoo, causing the lioness to panic and step on her offspring, according to Nasim Abu Safia, 29, who is in charge of feeding the animals at the zoo.

The Israeli military said it had struck several sites in Gaza in retaliation for rocket fire aimed at soldiers near the border earlier that day.

Finally, Mr. Safia said, the cubs could not stand the November chill, and the zoo did not have the facilities to properly shelter them. “We tried as much as possible to save their lives and keep them alive,” he said, “but it was out of our hands and beyond our capabilities.”

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An Aussie immigrant to Israel, David Lange is founder and managing editor of Israellycool. He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and single malt whisky.