amp.theguardian.comOne of the malnourished lions sits in her cage at the Al-Qureshi park in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. Photograph: Ashraf Shazly/AFP via Getty ImagesSudan
Park officials and vets say some of the five cats have lost almost two-thirds of their body weight
Sun 19 Jan 2020 19.58 EST
Online calls to help save five “malnourished and sick” African lions at a park in Sudan’s capital grew on Sunday.
The lions are in cages at Khartoum’s Al-Qureshi park, which is in an upmarket area of the city, and have not had enough food and medicine for weeks.
Many people have demanded they be moved.
Osman Salih launched a Facebook campaign, Sudananimalrescue, and wrote: “I was shaken when I saw these lions at the park … Their bones are protruding from the skin.
“I urge interested people and institutions to help them.”
Park officials and vets said the lions’ conditions had deteriorated over the past few weeks. Some had lost almost two-thirds of their body weight.
“Food is not always available so often we buy it from our own money to feed them,” said Essamelddine Hajjar, a manager at the park, which is managed by the Khartoum municipality but is partly funded by private donors.
Sudan is in the middle of an economic crisis led by soaring food prices and a shortage of foreign currency.
On Sunday residents, volunteers and journalists visited the park to see the lions after their photographs went viral on social media networks.
One of the five cats was tied with a rope and was fed fluids through a drip as it recovered from dehydration, an AFP reporter who toured the park wrote.
Chunks of rotten meat covered in flies lay scattered near the cages.
The condition of the park was also affecting the animals’ health, another official at the park said.
“They are suffering from severe illnesses,” a caretaker, Moataz Mahmoud, said. “They are sick and appear to be malnourished.”
It is unclear how many lions are in Sudan but several are at the Dinder park along the border with Ethiopia.
African lions are classified as a “vulnerable” species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Their population dropped 43% between 1993 and 2014, with only about 20,000 alive today.