Blog Post

Tripoli Zoo Still Facing An Uncertain Future

December 31, 2011

Libya is slowly returning to normal after the uprising that overthrew Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. One of the sites grinding back into action is Tripoli Zoo, which is hoping to re-open to the public in a few months time. But the battle is not over yet. Funding from international charities to feed the hundreds of birds and animals at the site is coming to an end and it is not certain whether the new government will foot the bill.
These images were taken at the zoo earlier this week, where we found the animals to be in a very good condition. It’s a far cry from the situation in August when many were in a desperate state as the Libyan capital found itself without food or water and the staff fled due to heavy fighting in the area. A large international aid effort was mobilised and several charities stepped in to alleviate the situation. Among them,
the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the British based charity, Four Paws, which helped pay for food and medical supplies. It costs around £1300 pounds ($2000 dollars) a day to feed all the zoo’s residents. Large carnivores, like lions and tigers, can eat 20-30 pounds of meat per day to satisfy their appetite. We filmed one of the lion’s receiving it’s daily meal. To see such as big beast just a few feet from you, is an experience I will never forget, especially when it roared at us when we came too close.
The zoo has had some good news since the fall of the Gaddafi regime. One of the lion’s gave birth to two baby cubs at the end of October. The mother came from a group of lions owned by Gaddafi’s third son, Saadi Gaddafi, which are now part of the zoo’s animal collection.
Although the animals are in a much better condition than they were a few months ago, the zoo is not yet out of the woods. The financial support provided by charities over the last few months is due to come to end at the start of 2012. The director of Tripoli Zoo, Dr Anas Ali, is counting on the new government picking up the bill. If that does not happen, he hopes the charities won’t leave him in the lurch.
But the government will also need to pay for badly needed repairs to the zoo before it can re-open. It closed two years ago for renovations and was due to open in June 2011, but the building work ground to a halt during the revolution.
Some of these images have been published on the BBC website. Click here to see them. You can also view a news report here by my colleague, Mark Lowen, on this remarkable gem in the middle of Tripoli.

3 Responses to “Tripoli Zoo Still Facing An Uncertain Future”

  1. Kathryn Hall says:

    Hi, Kelvin, What a lovely gift awaited me this morning, this last day of the year–a link to your encouraging blog post, sent by a friend currently in Tripoli! I have taken the liberty to add a link to this post from a post I did when the Tripoli Zoo became front and center this year. You can see full story at Thanks for doing what you did! The pics of the baby tigers are very endearing–life regenerating after a horrific reality for those animals. Blessings! xoxo

  2. admin says:

    Hi Lisa. I can certainly do that. I’ll send you an email with the contact details for one of the staff members at the zoo.

  3. Lisa Gibbs says:

    Really terrific crisp shots. That ligor is one fab cat. I hope these pictures can be used to raise more awareness for the needs of the poor bored animlas. no enrichment in those enclosures. Just sitting in the heat all day with limited stimulation except waitng for steady supplu of food. such cute cubs they need a few toys. Can you hook me up with who to contact @ zoo to get them some aid?I already am in touch with 4 paws SA and IFAW

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