By Mikey Jones
New photos show the last surviving tiger rescued from the ‘world’s worst zoo’ after being starved for two months now happy again at a safe sanctuary.
Four Paws – an international animal charity – rescued tiger, Laziz, who was the only big cat left in the Khan Younis zoo in Gaza, after an international outcry to save the animals first began in 2014.
The zoo, which has since been closed down, was partly destroyed by bombs during the conflict between Israel and Gaza.
It was dubbed the ‘worst zoo in the world’ after photographs of the starving animals were released to the global media.
Laziz was relocated to LionsRock – a sanctuary for big cats – in South Africa and has settled in well.
Four Paws veterinary surgeon, Dr Amir Khalil, said: “So many people have followed the progress of our mission eagerly and shown their solidarity with Laziz and the other animals.
“We are happy that we were finally able to close down Khan Younis Zoo.
“Laziz settles into life at LionsRock.
“Laziz was subjected to mortar and grenade strikes that wiped out almost all the zoo’s inhabitants and survived nearly two months without food.
“And in a particularly macabre turn of events, his partner was even mummified when she died and was kept in Laziz’s enclosure.
“It’s safe to say that few animals on earth have been through as much as this tiger has.
“Laziz is now settling into life at LionsRock and whilst he is still traumatised by his past life, he is doing well.”
LionsRock has rescued more than 90 big cats from all over the world.
Photographer, Aaron Gekoski, 38, who took the most recent images of Lazis, said: “Laziz is settling into life at LionsRock and, despite bearing the scars of his past, is doing well.
“He is healthy and has put on a significant amount of weight since arriving here.
“Whilst many animals are scared of loud noises, Laziz – so accustomed to the sounds of war – gets spooked by silence.
“And although tigers are normally solitary animals in the wild, Laziz can get lonely and seek out the affections of other tigers.”