When Apartheid ended officially in South Africa, racism didn’t go away. Likewise, though we had hope that a post-revolution Egypt would usher in a period of more humane treatment of animals, Egypt remains a corrupt society with a terrible track record of abuse. AlMasry Alyoum recently reported that one zoo owner has managed to secure renewed permitting for the Lion Village north of Cairo, despite the fact that its animals are subject to hot temperatures, lack of water, trash-filled cages, and space confinements that would make the sanest Monk stark raving mad.
Monkeys chewing on plastic
Ahmed-Al Timsah is full of excuses, according to the paper. When questioned about why a full-grown lion and lioness have zero water despite blazing temperatures, he claims that they “spill it” or that the water is placed elsewhere. He adds that they don’t need water where they sleep because they’re not thirsty at night.
When the reporters discover a monkey chewing on a plastic bag, Timsah attempts to convince them that the cages are typically immaculate, that they just happened to arrive on a bad day. In fact, animal activists have been calling for its closure, and the world-renowned photographer and writer Karl Amman, who has been researching wildlife trafficking in the Middle East for several years, confirmed in an interview earlier this year that the conditions in Egypt’s zoos are appalling.
The Hyenas show signs of distress, while two lion cubs don’t have enough room to stretch out, much less roam – as they do in the wild. Timsah told the paper that “the cubs were small when he bought the cages.” Seems to me if the man didn’t know the lions would grow, he has no business operating a zoo!
But he will continue to operate the zoo, because despite the conditions outlined above, the powers-to-be have extended his permit. But this is not an organized machine.
Permits for free
AlMasry Alyoum reports:
The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) came on 13 July to renew Timsah’s yearly license, which expired at least five months ago. He requested a new one in October 2010, but no one from the environmental office showed up before June 2011.
EEAA representatives recommended that he clean up the trash and supply water to the animals, which he said he would do within one week. But they promised him he would receive his permit within four days. Clearly, they have no intention of ensuring that he has met their requests.
We are about to enter the holy month of Ramadan when food becomes a sacred focus. Last year in Egypt, during the Eid festival after Ramadan, hundreds of animals were slaughtered in a most disturbing manner with rivers of blood pouring down the street.
When will this end?
More on animal abuses in Egypt:
image via Bikya Masr