When bombs hit the war-torn city of Mosul in Iraq, zookeepers at Montazah Al-Morour Zoo were forced to abandon the animals. As many as 40 animals left behind died from bombings and starvation. Others escaped. Simba the lion and Lula the bear were the sole survivors, but they were starving and living in poor conditions when found in February. A team from Four Paws International organized a rescue mission to save them. An initial attempt to get the animals out of the city in late March failed when the team was stopped at a checkpoint. But after ten days of negotiating with Iraqi military and government officials, the team was finally able to fly Simba and Lula out of the country. They were sent to New Hope Center, the biggest wildlife shelter in the Middle East, where they will continue to receive medical care and reside as a permanent home.
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War-Torn Zoo’s Last Surviving Animals Rescued in Mosul | National Geographic