The pictures of the starving lions trapped in the Sudanese Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo have made headlines around the world. Weary, malnourished lions lied on the ground in a zoo enclosure in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, their bones protruding under their skin: the disturbing images from a private zoo park posted online have evoked worldwide sympathy and moves to save them.
The emaciated lions are just a few of the many animals that are slowly starving to death there. Just last week, one of the lions passed away after months of unberable suffering.
But there is finally hope for the starving animals of Al Qurashi park zoo.The team surrounding Dr Amir Khalil arrived in Khartoum on January 27 and immediately started its vital work for the animals.
Kandanka, the lioness, has been fighting for her life for months and now she may finally stand a chance. The lion Mansour, who’s name means “Victorious” in Sudanese, is also very dehydrated but is healthy enough to be anaesthetised. He was examined with ultrasound, which showed signs of early stages of chronic kidney disease.
Four Paws vets Amir Khalil and Frank Goeritz are doing everything they can, however the rescue operation needs funds. That is why Four Paws launched worldwide call for supporting their life-saving mission in Sudan.
The images were initially shared by Sudanese activist Osman Salih earlier in January and have since been circulated widely online, sparking a campaign to try to save the lions under the hashtag #SudanAnimalRescue.
Zoo staff told Four Paws that conditions of the animals had dramatically deteriorated over the past few weeks, resulting in some of the animals losing almost two-thirds of their body weight.
Tourists were startled when a lion attacked an antelope kudu in the middle of the road in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.
According to animal behaviorists, predators have been adapting to co-habitation with tourists, making best out of in, namely using cars as a cover for hunting of antelopes.
This is an advanced type of hunting, when for a few kilometers lions accompany convoys of vehicles with visitors, carefully observing the sides of the road. Due to noise of engines and smell of gases, antelopes do not feel the predators that hide among cars.
Visitors of the Kruger Park recorded such “car cover” hunting before, however this one was exceptionally spectacular due to size of the antelope, and pertinence of the lion.
Lions are the only social feline, who practice next to regular hunting a complex ambush hunting in a team, distributing tasks. Lions do a whole lot of more feline interactions in their lives than the loner tigers, and other big cats. They also practice school of hunting for young lions, teaching them skills and tricks.
The scientists claim that the part of the lion’s brain for memory is the most developed among felines and intelligence is related to memory.
The result of the 2016 animal intelligence test confirmed the greatest abilities of social animals to resolve problems. In this test social animals came first The hyena came as a champion on the top of the list, then the lion, the leopard followed, and the loner tiger with the biggest brain volume came the last.
Kenyan warriors of young generation are no longer pursuing lions to show off their hunting prowess and bravery, they are competing for monetary prizes in javelin throwing at the Maasai Olympics instead.
“We have changed the outdated lion hunting culture, as there was a time before the Maasai Olympics when we were killing animals, but now we are protecting them as we coexist in harmony,” 22-year-old Moran Joseph Tipape Lekatoo said.
Lekatoo was competing for his Mbirikani Manyatta group in the fourth edition of the Maasai Olympics, where youthful morans, or warriors, from four Manyattas (settlements) — Rombo, Mbirikani, Kuku and Elselengei — gather to compete.
“If you compare me to the past warriors, they used to go and kill lions and that does not help you in anyway,” said Moses Ntimama, another warrior and participant in the Olympics at the Sidai Oleng Wildlife Sanctuary at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, near Kenya’s border with Tanzania.
Government-run Kenya Wildlife Services informs there are about 2,000 lions in the East African country, and the biggest threat to them and other carnivores is conflict with humans.
Eight Vietnamese suspects will appear before a South African court to face charges of illegal possession of game products including lion parts and a tiger’s carcass, police said.
Police agents found lion bones, lion meat, a tiger skin, gas cylinders, gas burners, containers, a saw, knives and other equipment when they intercepted the suspects’ two vehicles headed to an unused farm in the North West province.
“As far as how many (lions), from our side there’s been no definite number really… but its quite a few of them,” Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso told AFP.
“There were different parts of the lion that were there… so you can’t exactly tell if its the stomach or whatever, but the lion in its entirety was chopped up basically.”
Local media reports at least 40 lions were killed in 48 hours.
Conservation groups in East and southern Africa say that during the past three years, increasing numbers of lions have been killed and mutilated for their claws and teeth, likely to satisfy demand in China and Southeast Asia, where the parts appear to mainly be used as pendants and amulets.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which regulates the global wildlife trade, prohibits commercial trade in the parts of wild African lions. But South Africa, which has thousands of captive-bred lions, can legally export their parts—up to 800 lion skeletons a year. According to CITES, most go to Laos and Vietnam, where the bones are used as a substitute for tiger bone wine, considered a status symbol and used for treating various ailments and giving the drinker the “strength of a tiger.”
The export of lion skeletons is fuelling the business of these criminal enterprises and South Africa should be held to account for encouraging them, conservationists say. The issue came to public attention after the decision of South Africa officials to double quota of exports of skeletons of lions in captivity.
Dr Paul Funston, the senior director of the lion programme at Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organisation, believes South Africa’s contentious lion bone trade came to a point to start endangering the continent’s dwindling wild lion populations.
“I can’t understand why the government is being so stupid and ignorant by making decisions and supporting an industry that is clearly not supported by the world one that is having a massive knock-on effect on the poaching of wild lions in other African countries” – Funston said.
Funston was reacting to the announcement this week by Environment Minister Edna Molewa that she had approved an annual export quota of 1500 captive-bred lion skeletons – nearly doubling last year’s 800-skeleton quota.
“What we’re seeing now in many other African countries is that they poach the lions and just cut the face and feet off for the teeth and claws as trinkets,” the conservationists regrets. Conservation organisations like Panthera have maintained there is significant evidence that South Africa’s legal trade in lion bones is accelerating the massacre of wild lions for their parts in neighbouring countries and increasing demand for wild lion parts in Asia, where they are used as a substitute for tiger bone wine and other products.
African and marine species likely to gain critical international treaty protections with overwhelming support.
Lions, leopards, giraffes, chimpanzees, sharks and other key species have received overwhelming support for critical international treaty level protections at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, this year’s largest and most important conservation meeting.
African migratory species as well as marine wildlife have experienced dramatic declines in recent years. The Convention will now be able to facilitate the development of international conservation strategies, offer greater financial and institutional support, and increase exchange of best practices among the countries where these animals live. These listings are a culmination of years of joint effort by Humane Society International and partner organisations.
“This has been a tremendously exciting meeting. Several mammal species facing major threats in the wild will be benefiting and Humane Society International is thrilled to be a part of it. We are pleased with the decision to list the lion, leopard, giraffe and chimpanzee as among the animals to gain these new protections. The listings signal that the international community is poised for strong, concerted action to protect them” – said Masha Kalinina, international trade policy specialist for HSI.
An international animal charity says a month-old lion cub whose mother had been rescued from a defunct zoo in war-stricken Syria has died.
The Four Paws charity says Hajar, born a day after its mother Dana arrived at a wildlife refuge in Jordan, died on September, 8.
The group says that at some point Dana had stopped taking care of the cub. A veterinary team took the cub from its mother for medical care, but Hajar’s condition worsened in recent days.
Charity spokesman Martin Bauer says tests are being conducted to determine the cause of death.