The animals at the Giza Zoo
Yesterday, August 14, violent action took place to clear protests in the streets of Cairo. The Giza Zoo is located right in the area where the crackdown occurred. The very sad toll of human deaths and injuries on both sides was huge. It appears that, at least for the moment, all the zoo animals are alive and uninjured.
Vier Photen, the international organization based in Austria that does so much to help animals in disasters, in many countries, has responded generously to a request from The Egyptian Society of Animal Friends (ESAF) to provide help to the Giza Zoo, which is having great trouble feeding and caring for the zoo animals. Because of the unrest, there are no visitors to the zoo and therefore no income with which to feed the animals.
Dina Zulficar, a dynamic animal advocate in Cairo who has aided the Giza Zoo animals for many years (with education, activism, organizing support for them, and enriching their habitats), has provided ongoing reports on the plight of the zoo animals. The Zoo is located right in the area where the protests have been taking place, and there has been a great fear that the animals would be injured or killed by the tear gas and the fighting. During the violent crackdown by the army on the protestors, it looked for a time as if the worst fears were materializing.
Heroes at the Giza Zoo
Animals in a zoo have no way to escape tear gas or gunfire. They are trapped. The lungs of birds are especially susceptible to impurities of any kind in the air, and of course, this includes tear gas and smoke.
Thanks in large measure to the bravery and dedication of Dr. Fatma Tammam, Central Zoo Director, and her staff, who went early in the morning to feed all the zoo animals and birds and who have been overseeing the welfare of the animals, at the moment, the animals appear to be safe.
During the crackdown on Wednesday, there was a fire in a palm tree and another tree, but it was contained. Police and 15 protestors battled outside the walls of the zoo. At the time of Dr. Tamman’s most recent report, relayed by Dina Zulficar, all the Giza Zoo animals were alive and none were injured, which is remarkable. Dr. Tamman extended her thanks to all those who expressed their concern for the zoo animals. The road to the zoo has now been re-opened.
ESAF feeds the pyramids animals
Since the very beginning of the unrest in Egypt two years ago ESAF, the Egyptian Society for Animal Friends, has been providing regular assistance to the horses, donkeys, and camels at the Pyramids. These animals in normal times are used to carry tourists, and even in the best of times, their lives are not easy. During times of civil unrest, their owners have no income because there are no tourists, and they have no means to feed the animals or provide vet care for them.
ESAF, working with other organizations, both international and Egyptian, has faithfully provided help to these animals – feed and regular vet care.
On August 9, before yesterday’s crackdown, Ahmed El Sherbiny, Chairperson of ESAF, reported on their recent work with the animals. The ESAF team spent four days at Nazlet El Samman, giving vet care and feeding to 526 animals.
Then on Wednesday, August 7, at Kafr El Gabal, the neighborhood near the Pyramids where the camel owners live and where they camels are kept, they spent one day feeding and treating 94 horses and camels.
The camel feeding and vet care was sponsored by Janet Thomas of Animal Aid Abroad (AAA).
During this past month, ESAF has given food and vet care to 1,857 horses and donkeys, as well as 94 camels.
Ahmed El Sherbiny expressed his heartfelt thanks to SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad), AAA, HSI (Humane Society International), Wereld Asielen, and Sue Evans and her UK group.
There are a number of excellent animal welfare groups in Egypt, all of whom are doing their best to help animals at this very difficult time.
Thanks to these kind and heroic efforts, Egyptian animals are being saved and helped. However, the circumstances are immensely trying and the future is uncertain. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people and animals of Egypt.
Photo: Courtesy of ESAF, this was taken during an earlier program for the Pyramids animals in 2012.
These are the Facebook pages for Dina Zulficar, ESAF, and Vier Photen:
Dina Zulficar: https://www.facebook.com/dina.zulfikar.5
Vier Pfoten: https://www.facebook.com/vier.pfoten.9?fref=ts