Gaza zookeeper puts lion cubs up for sale on Facebook
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Gaza zookeeper puts lion cubs up for sale on Facebook

Mohammad Ahmad Jumaa claims he needs to sell the three cubs to raise money to feed the rest of his pride

Palestinian children stand near two-month-old lion cubs at the zoo in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017.  (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinian children stand near two-month-old lion cubs at the zoo in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

The owner of a private zoo in the Gaza Strip has put three lion cubs up for sale, saying he can no longer afford to feed them.

Mohammad Ahmad Jumaa took to social media to advertise the animals at 3,500 Jordanian dinars ($5,000) each.

“Because of the bad economic situation and the difficulty of finding food and drink [for the animals], I was forced to put up for sale three cubs born around a month ago,” he said.

He said he needed the money to pay for the upkeep of the rest of his pride — two male and three female lions.

Ahmad Joma’a, a zoo worker, holds two-month-old lion cubs at the zoo in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017.(AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Jumaa, who has owned the animal park in Rafah on the border with Egypt for 23 years, said feeding his animals costs around $345 a month.

He had named the cubs Palestine, Al-Quds (Jerusalem in Arabic), and Erdogan (after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan).

He had received calls about the advert on Facebook but has so far not sold any of the cubs.

In 2016, a tiger, two turtles, two eagles, two porcupines, a pelican, an emu, and a deer were transferred from a dilapidated Gaza zoo to new homes in South Africa, Jordan, and Israel.

A Palestinian youth holds a two-month-old lion cubs while children watch at the zoo in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017.(AP Photo/Adel Hana)

There have been frequent incidents in the past of Palestinians smuggling exotic animals into the Hamas-run enclave and then being unable to care for them properly.

Israel and Egypt impose a strict blockade on the Strip aimed at preventing Hamas from smuggling in arms and materials to build tunnels and fortifications, while Hamas routinely diverts aid to its armed forces.

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