After a series of devastating photos showed five malnourished and sick lions in Sudan, efforts are ramping up globally to save the cats.
The lions are currently being held in Al-Qureshi Park, located in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. The park is managed by Khartoum officials, but is funded in part by private donors, per AFP.
Some of the lions are skeletal, with bones jutting out of their skin after losing nearly two-thirds of their body weight, while others have visible, untreated wounds. Conditions have worsened in recent weeks, as Sudan remains in the throes of an economic and political crisis.
“Food is not always available so often we buy it from our own money to feed them,” Essamelddine Hajjar, a manager at the park, told AFP.
Osman Salih, a concerned resident of Khartoum, ignited a call to rescue the animals from their “deteriorating” conditions in a post Saturday. His campaign, using the hashtag #SudanAnimalRescue, has since gained worldwide attention.
In the days since his post, donors brought fresh meat and the nonprofit Four Paws offered “emergency rescue” aid to these lions and others throughout Sudan, Salih said.
He expressed hesitation over accepting monetary donations, instead suggesting that concerned individuals bring meat directly to the lions. “Too often these situations are exploited and people are scammed,” he wrote.
One female lion has died since Salih’s initial plea. But the other lions, per posts shared by Salih, have received medical treatment and food as of Tuesday.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, African lion numbers have plummeted by 40% over the past three generations. They are classified as a “vulnerable” species.
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