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40+ Neglected Animals Evacuated From Gaza Zoo
The animals, including five lions, five monkeys, four ostriches, three peacocks, two wolves and a hyena, were moved from a zoo in Rafah, Gaza to Jordan Sunday by the animal welfare charity Four Paws. The group said it was its largest rescue mission to-date. Most of the 47 animals will stay in animal sanctuaries in Jordan, while two of the lions were flown to South Africa Monday.
"The intensive work of the last weeks has brought our team to its limits. To examine and load almost 50 animals in just a few days was a huge challenge," Four Paws veterinarian and Head of Mission Amir Khalil said. "Thanks to the cooperation of all authorities, it was possible for us to bring the animals safely out of Gaza. From Israel to Palestine and Jordan, it was impressive to see how these three nations worked together for the animals from Rafah."
The Rafah Zoo came under international scrutiny at the beginning of 2019 when four lions cubs froze to death because of harsh weather and inadequate housing, Four Paws said. Also in 2019, the zoo's owner declawed a female lioness so that visitors could play with her. A petition circulated by Four Paws to close the zoo gained more than 150,000 signatures. Khalil told Reuters that the cages were too small for the animals and their children.
Zoo owner Fathy Jomaa blamed Israel and Egypt's ongoing blockade of Gaza and the territories' deteriorating economy for his inability to properly care for the animals. Jomaa ultimately contacted Four Paws about moving them to a new location, BBC News reported.
"It is a tough decision, I feel like I am losing my family. I lived with some of those animals for 20 years," Jomaa told Reuters. "I hope they find a better place to live."
The zoo, which opened in 1999, had been the oldest zoo in Gaza, but many animals had been collateral damage in rocket attacks and armed conflict.
Israel and Egypt have maintained a land, sea and air blockade of Gaza since 2007, after Hamas won parliamentary elections and assumed control of the territory following clashes with rival group Fatah, which controls the West Bank. There are 1.3 million Palestinians living in Gaza, and around 80 percent rely on aid, Time reported.
The more-than-10-year blockade has caused the economy in Gaza to deteriorate so severely that the UN warned it would be uninhabitable by 2020, Voice of America reported in September 2018. At the time of the report, unemployment in the territory is at 27 percent, the highest in the world. Most households only get two hours of electricity a day and only 10 percent of people have access to safe drinking water.
"My children get sick because of the water. They suffer from vomiting, diarrhea. Often, I can tell the water is not clean, but we have no other option," Gaza resident Madlain Al Najjar told PBS NewsHour in an interview.
In this context, residents were sad to lose the Rafah Zoo.
"The zoo is the only place where we could go for a break," Husam Sabawei told BBC News. "It was the only place for entertaining our children."Four Paws has rescued animals from two other zoos in Gaza in 2014 and 2016.
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By Tracy L. Barnett
Sources reviewed this article for accuracy.
For Sicangu Lakota water protector Cheryl Angel, Standing Rock helped her define what she stands against: an economy rooted in extraction of resources and exploitation of people and planet. It wasn't until she'd had some distance that the vision of what she stands for came into focus.
Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.
The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.
"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.
The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.
"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."
The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.
"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."
Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.
Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.
Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."
Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.