/ 24 November 2023

Fifty wild animals rescued from Sudanese war zone

Four Paws Sudan Rescue
Port Sudan, Sudan | 2023 11 14-16 | Preparation work for the Lion Rescue mission in Port Sudan, Sudan.

About 50 wild animals, including lions, hyenas, wildcats and deer, as well as birds, have been rescued from a high-conflict zone in the south of Khartoum, Sudan. 

In the face of Sudan’s devastating humanitarian crisis and ongoing armed conflicts, global animal welfare organisation Four Paws and Sudan Animal Rescue (SAR) successfully evacuated the animals. 

Those taking part in the two-day high-profile operation worked hard to mitigate the risks for both humans and animals in the region.

 “It was not easy for the team to get on this mission but the team jumped leaps and bounds for the mission to be possible,” said Dr Marina Ivanova, international mission co-ordinator at Four Paws, which is based in Vienna, Austria. 

Sudan has been mired in conflict since April 2023, with more than 10 000 people killed and 5.6 million displaced, resulting in a dire lack of essential resources such as electricity, food and water. 

The situation has not only affected the human population but also posed significant threats to the wildlife living in some of the conflict zones. 

SAR asked Four Paws for assistance, recognising the urgent need to relocate the animals to ensure their safety and well-being.

On 19 and 20 November, Four Paws, including vets and wildlife experts, collaborated with local communities to carry out the rescue mission. 

The evacuation involved various species, each posing unique challenges. 

“The team confirmed that the situation on the ground was worse than expected — the animals had not been eating or drinking water and it was clear that it was a complicated situation,” Ivanova said. 

Many animals in the war zones have died, succumbing to disease and hunger. Those that were rescued received immediate veterinary care and were relocated to a safe zone at the Um Barona National Park.

“We are doing the best we can to ensure that the animals get the treatment they need to gain a bit of weight and increase their strength,” Ivanova said.  

She tells of a lion who was “skin and bones” which the team tried to save.

“This is the second case of trying to treat a lion without anaesthesia and, unfortunately, her condition was much worse .. the first lion survived but this one did not make it, despite all the treatment,” she said.  

Four Paws worked closely with Sudanese wildlife authorities to facilitate the evacuation and will continue to collaborate on developing sustainable long-term solutions for the animals. 

This collaborative effort is essential for addressing the complex challenges from the ongoing conflict and ensuring the well-being of the rescued wildlife.

The collaboration between local groups and the international one shows the importance of international co-operation in addressing complex challenges and working towards sustainable solutions for the welfare of all living beings affected by crises.

“This mission is a good example of how animals can unite people. It is always impressive to see different sides working together to help animals,” Ivanova said. 

Four Paws first entered Sudan in 2020 to provide urgent medical care and food to two nearly starved lions named Kandaka and Mansour. The zoo where they were housed was subsequently closed, and the lions were transferred to their permanent home at Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife in Jordan in November 2022.

Four Paws has conducted emergency animal rescues in other conflict zones in countries such as Libya and Syria. They also did work in Türkiye after the recent earthquake.