After contracting a curable illness, fourteen lions at the Tehran zoo were killed. The Jam-e Jam daily reported that the lions had contracted glanders, a sometimes rapidly fatal disease caused by the bacteria Burkholderia mallei, which is common among domestic animals such as goats and horses.
Veterinarian Houman Moloukpour told the paper that the lions probably contracted the disease as a result of the zoo’s negligence. Though transmitted from animals to humans following prolonged contact, human to human spread is unlikely. Not known to have occurred naturally in the United States since 1940, glanders is still common in Africa, Asia, Central and Latin America, and the Middle East.
According to the Lion Conservation Fund, there are less than 20,000 lions left in the world. Threatened by poaching and retribution (when lions attack livestock) and habitat loss, in just one decade, 90% of the lion population has disappeared.
This is not the first case of animal cruelty reported from the Middle East. Last year scores of activists were outraged to learn about dolphins kept captive in a private Egyptian pool and Lebanese circus animals were subjected to terrible conditions. Also in Egypt, Muslims condemned widespread animal slaughter during Eid.
:: News 24
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image via Corey Leopold