If you visited the Khan Younis Zoo in the impoverished Gaza strip, you would see quite a variety of animals, but on close inspection, you would realize that over half of them aren’t even alive. The ones that died have been stuffed before going on display to keep visitors entertained. It sounds pretty creepy but the zoo keepers really have no choice. They cannot afford to get new animals across the border, and don’t really wish to smuggle them illegally, and can barely afford the food costs for the few live animals they have left. So it’s up to the embalmed corpses of the zoo’s dead animals to entertain the 200,000 odd people of Khan Younis.
In total, the Palestinian zoo has only 65 live animals the rest of which have all been stuffed. The zoo owner, Mohammed Awaida, said that he lost several of his animals in December 2008, during Israel’s 3-week military offensive against Hamas. He could not reach the zoo during this period and the animals died due to starvation and neglect. “The idea to mummify animals started after the Gaza war because a number of animals like the lion, the tiger, monkeys and crocodiles died. So we asked around and we learned from the Web how to start.”