Four lions wasting away in a Sudanese horror zoo have undergone life-saving treatment after heartbreaking images of the emaciated animals sparked donations from around the world.
Veterinarians and wildlife experts from Four Paws International conducted medical checks on the big cats at Al-Qurashi Park in Khartoum, the country’s capital.
The desperate action came after one female lioness died of starvation last week, and following severe concerns for the health of a lion and lioness kept in filthy cages.
Pictures of the emergency action today show the vets pouring water onto the animals and applying medication to their open wounds.
Amir Khalil, head of Four Paws emergency mission, said the checks showed the lions were still dehydrated and weigh just a third of their normal body weight.
‘Their muscles are not even able to move,’ he said, ‘I don’t know how we’ll be able to do injections’.
‘To see a hungry animal like this, there is no connection to religion or politics. It has to do with humanity.
‘I don’t understand why no one was given the task of feeding them or how authorities could just over look this.’
The rescue team attended the animals without much of their luggage and essential medical equipment, as this was confiscated when they arrived late Monday evening by Sudanese authorities which claimed they lacked ‘prior approval’.
There are no immediate plans to move the emaciated lions out of Al-Qurashi and to better conditions.
The Park’s head, Bader el-Deen Wassim, said the attention will allow authorities to ‘expand and renovate the park’.
He also promised to ensure the lions health was improving, despite overseeing their deterioration in the first place.
Four Paws medicines are expected to be released tomorrow.
The malnourished lions have become something of a symbol of the harsh effects of poverty in Sudan, where runaway price hikes marshaled a popular uprising that ousted longtime autocrat president Omar al-Bashir in April.
Sudan, now in a fraught transitional period, is struggling to recover from three decades of corruption, mismanagement and isolation under al-Bashir.
Al-Bashir was convicted of corruption last month and sentenced to two years in a minimum security lock-up, where he awaits trial on separate charges over his role in the killing of protesters during the months before his ouster.
Stiff sanctions, a result of Sudan’s place on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, has kept the transitional government in limbo, preventing it from seeking debt relief and badly needed foreign investment.