Struggling Gaza zoo is selling animals in an effort to stay open

Gaza Zoo Sells Lion Cubs to Local Family

Things have been tumultuous in the Middle East for a while now, but one Gaza zoo — Gaza's Rafah zoo — is experiencing a new kind of economic trouble as a result of the turmoil.

With remnants of empty rocket casings still popping out of the ground from last summer's war, the zoo isn't necessarily what you would describe as being warm and welcoming.

With seven years of on-again off-again war and turmoil between Israel and Hamas, the violence affected more than just the humans in the area -- it affected the local animals, too.

Jihad Juma — a worker at Rafah zoo in the southeast of the Gaza strip — told VICE that the zoo lost about $80,000 worth of animals. He recalls that most were killed directly from a rocket that landed last summer, but "some died from lack of food [and] shock of explosions."

When desperate times called for desperate measures, the zoo did something that created an immense amount of backlash: They attempted to preserve some of the animals by stuffing them with sawdust, and the zoo then put the stuffed animals out in exhibits for visitors.

Now, with nowhere left to turn, the zoo has been selling ostrich eggs, parrot eggs, baby monkeys, and even baby lion cubs (all for over $1,000 per purchase).

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