By Daily Mail
One of the five starving lions held in filthy cages at a nightmare zoo in Sudan died yesterday as the campaign to save the remaining four animals continued to gather momentum.
The lioness received intravenous fluids for several days at Al-Qureshi Park in an upstate district of the country’s capital, Khartoum, but died on Monday, Brigadier Essamelddine Hajjar said.
The emaciated big cats have been suffering for weeks without food or medicine, following a spike in food prices nationwide due to a foreign currency shortage, and have lost almost two-thirds of their body weight.
A campaign called #SudanAnimalRescue has called for the ‘malnourished and sick’ lions to be taken from the park.
The lioness received intravenous fluids for several days at Al-Qureshi Park in an upstate part of the country’s capital, Khartoum, before she died on Monday. Four other lions remain in a desperate condition.
The five lions have been held in filthy cages at the park and gone without food or medicines for weeks.
The lions have lost as much as two-thirds of their bodyweight after being left at the park. Sudan is currently in the grip of an economic crisis due to a lack of foreign currency which has sparked a hike in the price of food.
‘One of the two sick lionesses died today… Yesterday the doctor gave the two some medicines after which they were given food,’ Hajjar said. ‘One recovered but the other died. We are now diagnosing the cause of death.’
The big cats received food on Sunday after park officials bought it with their own money, he said, although they are in a dreadful condition.
The poor state of the park in general, which is managed by the Khartoum municipality but partially funded by private donors, is also affecting their health.
‘I was shaken when I saw these lions at the park… their bones are protruding from the skin,’ wrote Osman Salih on Facebook as he launched an online campaign under the slogan #Sudananimalrescue.
‘I urge interested people and institutions to help them.’
The park is managed by the Khartoum municipality and part funded by private donations.
Park officials and medics said the lions’ conditions deteriorated over the past few weeks, with some losing almost two-thirds of their body weight.
‘Food is not always available, so often we buy it from our own money to feed them,’ Essamelddine Hajjar, a manager at Al-Qureshi park told AFP.
On Sunday, crowds of citizens, volunteers and journalists flocked to the park to see the lions after their photographs went viral on social media networks.
It is unclear how many wild lions remain 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 (IUCN).
Their population dropped 43 percent between 1993 and 2014, with only around 20,000 alive today.