By Nour Abu Eisha
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) - Zoo workers in the Gaza Strip are trying hard to keep three lion cubs alive after their mothers refused to let them suckle.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Abdulhadi Hamude, one of the employees of Terfihiyye Zoo in Gaza, said that lionesses in captivity often refuse to breastfeed their cubs which puts the lives of the newborns in danger.
He said 80 cubs have died in the past seven years after their mothers refused to let them suckle or ate them a few hours after they were born.
The official went on to say that a lion cub needs to suckle more or less every hour.
The staff also tried alternatives for mother's milk, but it did not work.
"We brought cats, dogs and sheep milk. However, it did not work and the cubs died after hours or days."
- Shortage of drugs, vaccines
Hamude underlined that lion cubs need some vaccines and drugs a week after they are born, but the vaccines and drugs imported to Gaza, which is under blockade, are of poor quality, unlike those used abroad.
The reason for that is the rising prices of other quality medicines and the difficulty in transporting medicines to the region due to the Israeli blockade, he stated.
"There are four female and as many male lions in the zoo, excluding the cubs. Each of them eats 15 to 20 kilograms of meat every two days but it is extremely difficult for us to meet this amount," said Hamude.
He went on to say that animals also get disturbed by the sounds of explosion during Israeli attacks on the coastal enclave.
Recently, the Austrian-based Four Paws animal rights group has been working to transfer some animals from the region to nature reserves in Jordan and Africa in order to prevent the death of animals.