Update: The animals have been released, thanks to the incredible work of Four Paws International, a global non-profit organization that fights against animal abuse.
“Together with the Albanian Ministry of Tourism, and supported by the Albanian police, we had to force our way into the zoo to finally rescue the animals,” reads a statement by the organization. “We will now nurse them back to health before they can move to their forever homes in one of our species-appropriate sanctuaries.”
An anonymous photographer recently released images of animals living in deplorable conditions at an unkempt zoo in Albania, sparking outrage and pleas for their immediate rescue.
The privately-owned facility, known as Safari Park Zoo, has apparently been on the radar of conservation organizations for some time now, but have so far been unable to put a stop to the cruelty.
“All the animals are kept in tiny, unhygienic concrete cages with no possibility to retreat from the elements or from the prying eyes of visitors to the zoo,” the photographer who captured the images told Caters News. “The animals suffer from a range of physical and psychological issues caused by the miserable conditions, improper veterinary care and lack of an appropriate diet.”
The animals are reportedly left in cages covered in their own waste, without even access to fresh water.
The zoo is the unfortunate home to three adult lions, zebra, monkeys, a bear, several deer, and an extremely malnourished and cramped wolf.
One lion, in particular, looks very ill and is suffering from an untreated eye infection that will likely affect his vision if left untreated. The other two are both suffering from infected wounds, possibly caused by metal wires protruding into their tiny enclosures.
Animal welfare advocates have been fighting for the rescue of the animals, but legalities have prevented animal rescue groups from getting to them. News reports have been circulating that the animals have already been rescued, but this is not the case.
Four Paws International, a nonprofit organization that fights against animal cruelty, reported on Facebook that their team is currently waiting for official approval from Albanian authorities.
“The suffering animals are still at the zoo and in desperate need of our help. Unfortunately, we’re not yet legally allowed to get them out.”
To help get these animals to safety, please spread the word and consider a donation of any amount to Four Paws International.