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State Of The Animals In Libya?
Horses Are Starved But Monkeys Are Thriving!

Walking through the Tripoli Zoo was one of the most devastating life experience to my western brought up child. I did my best to avoid visiting the zoo knowing only too well what to except, but having been pressurized and coerced, I finally relented and reluctantly agreed. My worst fears were realized when cage after cage, were either empty or inhabited by poor uncared for creatures surrounded with dirt. The really pitiful sight was that of the poor Elephant who came alloping, on his very dry surroundings approaching us gasping looking for some food and possibly a drop of water.
Elephants I believe are creatures that would thrive in lush green watery and even muddy surroundings. This poor elephant is kept in more of a desert habitat, more fitting for a camel. He desperately needed not only nourishment but water and plenty of it. My child wanted to offer him his bottle of mineral water and I only managed to stop him on time in case the unfortunate creature eats the plastic bottle as well. After this we walked into the Rhino house in which we found three - swimming in very cramped and very dirty conditions with green fungus growing on the walls of their pool, as the air conditioning system is faulty and looks like it has been so for years with water leaking from the pipes in the ceiling - and even more fungus ! The real surprise was the Monkey colony which my child gazed at with wonder and amazement! It is actually thriving with many new babies born and plenty of bananas around them. The child was even wondering why they were being looked after properly while other creatures were ignored? I could not answer this and it remains a mystery to me.

Having had the misfortune of visiting the zoo we decided to go to the Green Square (Assaha Alkhadra) to take some more photographs. The place was full of photographers with their picturesque Gazelles. Again these poor animals are exploited, starved and despite their natural beauty are a sorry and disheartening sight. Walking further we found the eye shattering view of the skeletal horses which are used to pull the carriages (carroosas) for the tourists and also for wedding parties too. These poor horses in the middle of the heart of Tripoli are an absolute disgrace; most are starving skin on bones. My child was almost in tears and told me that he is going to write to the "authorities" responsible for allowing such animal treatment to persist, and do these people who perpetuate this crime have any morality or any duty towards these poor creatures? I simply had to tell him the truth - there are no Animal rights in Libya and that complaining to any one is just a waste of time. I had to leave the Green Square speedily in case we bump into another tortured creature!

Munthir al-Kereghli


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