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A private West African zoo has been exposed for leaving its animals locked up and starving to death. The zoo was investigated by an international nonprofit, and after a frenzied fundraising effort, it was taken over by the same organization in hopes of reformation.
Ziniaré’s Zoo is a private site in Burkina Faso’s capital city of Ouagadougou. During an inspection by the conservation NGO WildatLife.e.V, based out of Frankfurt, Germany, the team was appalled to discover that many of the animals were on the brink of death, and weakened by malnutrition.
Some died on the very same day, and as the team explored the site, they came across more bodies of endangered animals that had simply wasted away in their cages.
A total of 47 wild animals—including four lions, two hippos, two porcupines, a striped hyena, red-necked ostriches, turtles, elks, and dozens of monkeys—remained alive but had been left without food for weeks, according to a WildatLife.e.V news release. A blind elderly lioness named Alma in a solitary enclosure was in a particularly poor state.
Upon approaching a cage housing a pair of porcupines, the “smell of decay was already present,” the team recalled, “as they had been locked and left to rot to death for weeks.” Neither could be saved.
According to employees of Ziniaré’s Zoo, dozens of animals have died on-site since 2014.
While shooting footage as evidence, WildatLife.e.V delivered raw meat and fresh vegetables, the first meal many animals had seen in weeks. They also started an urgent fundraiser, taking into account food, sanitation, enrichment, and “modest” remuneration for a staff of eight, according to The Daily Mail.
Much of Burkina Faso is on the brink of famine. Relief for human residents is on the way in the form of a $1 billion pledge from the United Nations.
At the time of writing, the fund by WildatLife.e.V has raised 40 percent of its 20,000 pound (US$26,530) goal. The NGO, whose work is reliant upon the generosity of its donors, also welcomes pledges on its website.
“The 47 animals now have a feeding program implemented and a team working alongside them to better their medical health, provide enrichment, and provide fresh food and water,” WildatLife.e.V posted on Instagram on Oct. 23.
On a recent update, the NGO told The Epoch Times via email that in partnership with The Association of Protection for Fauna and Flora in Burkina Faso, the organization has closed the zoo to the public and won legal power of attorney, ensuring that the animals will be cared for long into the future.
In the weeks following WildatLife.e.V intervention, Alma the blind lioness has gained considerable weight. The four resident lionesses that are critically endangered with only 400 remaining in the world have been introduced to one another, for social enrichment. Meanwhile, the two hippos have gained access to a clean pool, which was previously half empty and had been rotting with algae. All the other remaining animals are improving with each day that passes.
“Our team is confident that. … we can now work towards making a once-horror of a zoo into an ethical sanctuary,” WildatLife.e.V said. “So that they can live out the remaining [sic] of their lives with protection.”
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(Courtesy of WildatLife.e.V)