Frightened animals live in the debris of zoo as conflict between Gaza and Israel rages on

Despite having no formal training as a zoo keeper, Farid al-Hissi comes to the Bisan City zoo in Gaza every day, to feed what’s left of the zoo’s animals.

A pair of lions, some jackals, birds, and monkeys are all that’s left of a zoo that has been heavily damaged during the conflict between Gaza and Israel.

Built by the Hamas government in 2008 as a tourist village, the zoo is now a pathetic wasteland of twisted steel and debris, a squalid jail for the frightened animals still alive among the carcasses of other animals killed by blasts and shrapnel.

Clues to why this part of Gaza has been targeted lie nearby – what appear to be Hamas rocket launchers used to fire missiles into Israel.

With little let up in the fighting, repairs to the zoo will be a long way off – meaning that the animals may be trapped in their damaged cages for months

Caught in the crossfire, animals trapped in Gaza's Bisan zoo
Farid al-Hissi scratches the neck of a lioness at the heavily damaged Bisan City zoo, Gaza (Picture: AFP/Getty)
A baboon looks at the carcass of a cage-mate. Dead animals are strewn around the site (Picture: AFP/Getty)

Aamir Abu Warda, director of nearby Jabaliya Zoo, said that his zoo had not been hit but the animals were suffering from the psychological effects of the conflict.

He said: ‘It was the noise that really affected the animals here. The sound from the bombing terrified the animals.’

The heartbreaking conditions at the Bisan City zoo only serve to amplify the human tragedy of the situation in Gaza.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were due to return to mediation talks in Cairo on Sunday, as the end of a five-day ceasefire looms.

A zookeeper inspects the devastation at the zoo (Picture: AFP/Getty)

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17 August 2014 | 1:18 pm – Source:

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