Two Inseparable Lion Cubs Caught Cuddling After Refugee Camp Rescue
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A pair of inseparable lion cubs have been given a second chance at life after being rescued from a refugee camp in the war-torn Gaza Strip.
Not wanting to be apart, the two young cats were photographed snuggled together in an adorable embrace in the back of a rescue vehicle.
The rescue was overseen by animal welfare group Four Paws, based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and was arranged by local veterinarian, Amir Khalil.
After spending two weeks of their lives in Rafah Zoo, which was damaged by airstrikes, Max and Mona were taken in by Gaza resident Saad Aldeen Al-Jamal in March.
In Al-Jamal’s apartment, the cubs grew and played with his six grandchildren, but eventually they became too large for the accommodation.
After long negotiations, the Four Paws team, led by Dr. Khalil, were given permission to enter the Strip and transport them to Jordan via Israel.
Their first medical checks showed both animals were suffering from a skin disease, with the female, Mona, also having swelling on the back of her head, which likely derived from a stroke.
The cubs will undergo additional health checks at the New Hope Center, a transit station of Al Ma’wa Wildlife Sanctuary in Jordan.
Dr. Khalil said: “It was very hard for the father of the family, who bought the lion cubs from Rafah Zoo in March, to say goodbye.
“But we are very happy and he finally saw the reason.
“A small flat is not an appropriate place for wild animals and they pose a danger to all humans in their surroundings.
“They didn’t really realise the whole turmoil evolving around them.”
Though Gaza is small, there are around 40 big cats there.
Smuggling of exotic animals has posed a major problem in the region, Four Paws said in a statement.
For more information on Four Paws and the work they do visit www.four-paws.org