The public has been outraged after images showing a 14-month-old lioness called Falestine being declawed in a ZOO in Gaza appeared online. Both animal rights organizations and animal lovers have condemned this action and agreed it’s an unnecessary mutilation.
A Palestinian veterinarian cut off the claws with wire cutters and shears over a period of two weeks. The lioness was reportedly declawed in order for visitors to be able to play with it.
Mohammed Juma, the park’s owner, claims they’re trying to lower the lioness’s aggression in order for it to be friendlier with the visitors. But, others think this is utterly unnecessary and cruel.
Is Cruelty a Practice in Rafah ZOO?
The Rafah ZOO opened up in 1999 and it’s one of the four which compete in the surrounding area for business. It apparently has 50 animals, including some monkeys, wolves, a hyena, and 5 lions.
The ZOO was destroyed during a bulldozing operation in 2004 and was rebuilt successfully 2 years ago.
The lioness Falestine has a full set of teeth and her claws are expected to grow back within a period of 6 months, which contradicts the alleged cruelty of the declawing.
But, for animal charity Four Paws, natural attitude of the animal like climbing or collecting food is almost impossible without their claws. Plus, as the removal wasn’t done at a proper clinic, the risk of infection is very high.
Animal lovers have said that it’s similar to amputating a human’s fingers up to the knuckle. The organization Paw Project wrote that declawing may cause long term lameness, arthritis, and other issues.
Even though it’s common practice in the US, it’s illegal in many other countries.
This ZOO has also been criticized for the conditions that led to 4 lion cubs to freeze to death.