An online campaign to rescue five reportedly sick and starving African lions at a park in Sudan’s capital continues to grow, as one of the lions is said to have died on Monday.
The lions are held in cages at the Khartoum’s Al-Qureshi Park. The animals allegedly have not had adequate food or medicine for weeks, according to several reports.
Over the weekend, Osman Salih walked past the park and after seeing the lions and their horrible conditions, decided to start an online campaign called #SudanAnimalRescue in order to raise awareness about what is going on and to help save the animals.
“After seeing the fires in Australia kill so many precious creatures recently seeing these animals caged and be treated this way made my blood boil,” he wrote in a post on Facebook, sharing shocking images of the lions with their ribs and bones protruding.
“I would like to inform you that we have contacted the park administration and they indicated to us that the wildlife police are responsible for these animals and their care and cleanliness and that they were constantly preparing their food but stopped for a while,” he explained. “The park holds the wildlife police directly responsible for the deteriorating condition of the lions, and stated that the income of the park for a month is not enough to feed one lion for a week.”
“The issue is not simply food but most importantly the animals need detailed and special treatment to rid them of infections and issues probably brought about from infested meat and poor diet,” Salih added.
Park officials and veterinarians told AFP that the lions’ conditions had deteriorated over the past few weeks as food became less available in the midst of Sudan’s economic crisis.
“Food is not always available so often we buy it from our own money to feed them,” Essamelddine Hajjar, a manager at the park, told the outlet.
While the park is managed by the Khartoum local government, it is partly funded by private donors.
On Monday, Salih reported that one of the lions, a female, died from her illness, while another had been transported to a clinic for better care.
He also announced that he had finally submitted paperwork for a partnership with FOUR PAWS International, who will be sending “an emergency rescue to rehabilitate the animals not only at Qurashi zoo but other parks in Sudan as well as train staff at wildlife authority.”
Salih had first revealed the news of this partnership on Sunday, after learning that the lions were receiving fresh food and medical support.
“Today was a positive day at Qurashi Park. We had good meetings with the park administration and the wildlife police. It is important to note that it was at least very good seeing all the high level people concerned meet at such short notice. Even though the responsibility for the care and food of the animals was not agreed upon by the authorities,” he wrote. “Lots of fresh meat was brought by several donors as well as two sheep. Supply of regular meat from factories and slaughter houses was also secured. Managed to buy all required medical supplies for emergency care such as antibiotics, IV drip etc…”
He also urged those who want to help to sit tight, saying that he is “not accepting donations and I am discouraging any groups from collecting money for this cause until there is an organized body and set plan.”
“Anyone that wants to help with food should buy it and bring in person,” he said. “Too often these situations are exploited and people are scammed.”
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, the African lion is currently listed as a “vulnerable” species, and its the population is continually decreasing.