Five lions are starving to death in the capital of Sudan. The limp, sickly and weak animals are being held in small cages where visitors have been snapping photos that show the gaunt lions slowly fading.
Social media has been a buzz at the horrifying sight of bones protruding through their skin and fur in the Al-Qureshi Park in Khartoum Sudan. Outrage and an outpouring of efforts to help rescue the malnourished lions are being attempted but many roadblocks sadly stand in the way.
The African nation of Sudan is in the midst of socio-political and economic turmoil after their president Omar Hassan al-Bashir was ousted from office back in April of 2019 that occurred after mass protests spurred on by growing cash and escalating food price crisis.
This transition period the country currently sits in the purgatory of is extremely fragile at the moment. Somewhere around 9.3 million Sudanese out of 43 million total are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance according to the United Nations.
This has stopped everyday Sudanese citizens from stepping up to help the lions despite they themselves not having much. Osman Salih a Sudanese national who visited the park on Sunday was the first to shine a spotlight posting images and comments on Facebook saying:
“I was shocked,” Mr. Salih wrote on Facebook, noting the state of “hunger and neglect” in which the lions lived.
Contacted officials were unable to give a reason why the lions weren’t being fed or cared for but Osman Salih said in his Facebook post that authorities hinted they were incapable of caring for the animals because of a lack of resources.
In mere hours Mr. Salih’s Facebook post lit a fire under the park officials, Sudanese authorities, and local residents to start providing desperately needed medical care and nutrition to the lions. He published his post under the hashtag #SudanAnimalRescue.
The overwhelming care and response saved many of the lions as they began responding well to the medications and finished eating the food they were provided. Sadly Osman Salih announced in a Facebook post that a sick lioness died, unfortunately, due to the neglect.
A spokesperson for Four Paws an international animal rescue and welfare organization we reported on previously released a statement that they are “closely monitoring” the ongoing situation at the Sudan park and are currently acquiring approval from Sudanese authorities to fly in their veterinarians and other animal experts specific to this situation.
No one knows how many lions are in Sudan but the International Union for Conservation of Nature has African lions listed as a “vulnerable” species. An estimated population of around 20,000 lions are alive today across the whole of the African continent.
Another reason for the current period of economic and political purgatory in Sudan comes from South Sudan seceding into its own country in 2011. That secession took the drastically needed crude oil revenue with it.
After that secession, further economic mistakes and blunders under President Omar Hassan al-Bashir created a crisis in 2018 from the double-digit inflation that tripled bread prices and created mass street protests across the country ending in the presidents eventually removal.
After Al-Bashir’s removal he was convicted of corruption and given a two-year prison sentence for his crimes. Investigations were opened by the Sudanese attorney general looking into crimes committed under Al-Bashir and his rule in the western Darfur region where an astounding 300,000 people were murdered. Nearly 3 million were forcibly removed from their houses according to the United Nations during the killings.
The United States and other nations continue to keep Sudan on a list of nations that state sponsor terrorism. This has crippled Sudan’s economic recovery and made it ineligible for loans and other relief programs through global institutions like the World Bank.
This terrorist designation has harmed efforts to save these affected lions said, Mr. Salih. Well, known crowdfunding site GoFundMe terminated the financial campaign set up to aid the lions. They noted that the fundraiser was raising funds in a country still under United States sanctions therefore it was suspended.
GoFundMe has not responded to requests for comments on this situation as of Wednesday.
Osman posted a video on Facebook on Tuesday where he announced that they were looking for “secure” ways to acquire funding through the campaign for the lions without “breaking any rules local or international.”
“It’s really special to see local citizens getting together to help especially in the current climate we are in,” Mr. Salih wrote.
“Sudan is still in recovery mode. We just came out of a revolution. We have a new transitional government. Inflation has hit Sudan really badly. Everything has skyrocketed. Normal people cannot afford to eat these days,” he said. “Despite that, people are coming together and looking for solutions.”
Vegan News has reached out to Mr. Salih both for comment and to see how we can help with the campaign to save these beautiful and endangered lions.
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