Rescued from ‘worst zoo’, Laziz the tiger gets new home in South Africa | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Rescued from ‘worst zoo’, Laziz the tiger gets new home in South Africa

world Updated: Aug 26, 2016 10:22 IST
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The nine-year-old male tiger, Laziz, stretches after being released in an enclosure at the Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary in Bethlehem, South Africa.(AP Photo)

A Bengal tiger rescued from what activists have called “the worst zoo in the world” arrived in South Africa for a new home on Thursday, after living in a small cage in Gaza alongside another tiger’s stuffed corpse.

The nine-year-old male, known as Laziz, arrived by plane. His handlers said he was in good condition and calm after travelling in a wooden crate.

The Four Paws charity launched a rescue effort at the Khan Younis zoo in Gaza when it discovered that the zoo was displaying the taxidermied corpses of animals that had died from stress, disease and starvation.

After the zoo asked for help, Four Paws on Wednesday removed 15 animals including five monkeys, a porcupine and an emu. Most were destined for an animal sanctuary in Jordan.

Laziz is released into an enclosure at the Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary in Bethlehem, South Africa. (AP Photo)

The tiger was taken to the Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary, where he took a few groggy steps into his new enclosure, used an old tree trunk as a scratching post and collapsed under a shelter to sleep off the effects of a sedative.

“Laziz is in good condition apart from a scratch on one side of his face, which comes from the crate,” said Marina Strydom, a veterinarian at Lionsrock, said Thursday.

The facility already holds about 100 big cats that have been rescued from zoos and circuses around the world. The tiger’s new enclosure is several hectares in size with tree trunks, rocks and makeshift structures to climb.

Laziz, Gaza's last tiger from the Khan Yunis zoo, waits in a cage at the Tambo international airport in Johannesburg. (AFP Photo)

Meals will mostly include donkey meat and cow legs.

Years of conflict, cold winters, longstanding negligence and outbreaks of disease have killed many animals in captivity in Gaza.

Conditions in Gaza, home to 1.8 million people, have steadily deteriorated since Hamas, an Islamic militant group, seized control of the territory in 2007 and prompted an Israeli and Egyptian blockade.

The Gaza zoo's last tiger was one of 15 animals rescued this week. (AFP Photo)

A turtle is fed inside it's enclosure at the New Hope Centre, an animal refuge near Amman, upon their arrival after being evacuated from a zoo dubbed the "world's worst" in the Palestinian Gaza Strip. (AFP Photo)