The only surviving animals of Mosul zoo have been rescued from the war-torn city.
Simba the lion and Lulu the bear – the only animals left alive at the zoo – were finally flown to safety after being tortured and left to starve by ISIS.
The pair, which were first discovered at the Montazah Al-Morour zoo in February, were evacuated by international animal welfare organisation – Four Paws.
They were found abandoned in their cages and covered in dirt and excrement.
The zoo was nearly destroyed during the battle for the eastern half of the city and more than 50 of its other animals were killed or died or starvation
Four Paws vet Dr Amir Khalil, who led the mission, said: “It has been a massive challenge but now we are so happy that we’ve been able to bring Lula and Simba to New Hope Centre where they are well cared for.
“From now on they will have a much better life.
“With proper food, veterinary care and in a species appropriate environment, they can live without the constant danger of a nearby war-zone and the noise of bomb blasts in the background.”
Iraqi forces recaptured the war torn area from ISIS after the 100 day battle which left around 1,600 civilians killed.
The rescue comes after two previous attempts failed when the Four Paws team were stopped at checkpoints near the border twice.
The first time the Iraqi military were forced to take the animals back to the zoo and the second time Simba and Lula were kept in their transportation crates for days.
Following lengthy negotiations both animals were finally transferred to the New Hope rescue and rehabilitation centre in Amman, Jordan.