Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Gaza zoo displays stuffed animals due to 'shortages of animals'

Using rudimentary taxidermy techniques learnt on the internet, the impoverished Khan Yunis zoo has stuffed the mangy cat, which died during an Israeli incursion, along with a monkey missing an eye and several limbs and a porcupine, which suffered a hole to its head during a botched mummification attempt.
The park's owner Mohamed Awaida, who has no veterinary training, has so far embalmed 10 animals that died as a result of disease, hunger and neglect with an improvised formula of sawdust and formaldehyde. The stuffed corpses now form a macabre display beside the 65 animals still living at the zoo, including an ostrich, a tiger and deer.
"We started using the stuffed animals because there were no animals left in Gaza after the war. We are stuffing them because it's hard to bring animals into Gaza. We are doing that for people to see and children to learn that it's stuffed and then they will know what taxidermy is," Mr Awaida said.
Both living and dead animals are kept in makeshift cages constructed from shippings crates and the remnants of Israeli settlements dismantled in 2005, littered with sweet rappers and fizzy drink cans.
This improvisation is the latest solution dreamt up by Gaza's five zoos to avoid the hefty costs of importing new animals. In 2009, another zoo in Gaza City resorted to painting a donkey with zebra stripes to replace two zebras killed during the Israeli offensive, which it could not afford to replace.

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