An online campaign launched on Facebook on January 18 helped save five “malnourished and sick” African lions at a park in Sudan's Khartoum. Osman Salih launched '#SudanAnimalRescue' on Facebook on being “shaken” after seeing the lions in the cages of Khartoum's Al-Qureshi park did not get enough food and medicine for several weeks. Salih further urged people and institutions to help the animals.
The Park officials and medics reportedly said that the conditions of the lions have degraded over the past few weeks. According to Salih, they contacted the park administration who “indicated” that wildlife police are responsible for the animals and their care. He also wrote on Facebook that park holds the police responsible because the income of the park for a month is not enough to feed lions for more than seven days. In further updates, he even gave detailed improvements in some lions through medicines and care.
In a seperate post on Facebook, Salih wrote, “The park holds the wildlife police directly responsible for the deteriorating condition of the lions, and stated that the income of the park for a month is not enough to feed one lion for a week.”
While Sudan is in the middle of the wildlife crisis, the park officials and vets said that some lions have lost almost two-thirds of their body weight. A manager at the park, Essamelddine Hajjar reportedly said that food is not available so often that the officials but it from their own money to feed the animals. On January 19, residents, volunteers, and journalists visited the park to see the animals after their photographs went viral on social media.
African lions have been classified as a “vulnerable” species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as their population reportedly died 43 per cent between 1993 and 2014. Currently, only 20,000 are alive in the country. According to accounts of visitors, the international media reports said one of the five lions was tied with a rope and was fed fluids through drip as it recovered from dehydration. Furthermore, chunks of rotten meat covered in flies lay scattered near the cages. A park official reportedly said that the overall condition of the park in the capital is also affecting the animals' health. One of the caretakers at the park said the lions are “suffering from severe illnesses” and they “appear to be malnourished”.