Abandoned lions to be flown out from Bahrain
Manama, April 15, 2014
Eight big cats left behind in a Bahrain truck yard by a visiting circus are due to be shipped out of the country this week.
The six lions and two tigers were left just yards from a residential area, in Salmabad, at the end of January by Troy International Circus, which claimed it was unable to organise transport for the animals, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Authorities were only alerted to their presence last month by people working nearby amid fears that they posed a risk to public safety.
The animals have since been relocated to Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve until the circus can organise their departure.
"They will go this week, hopefully on Thursday," said Al Areen deputy general co-ordinator Dr Adel M Al Awadhi.
"The circus had arranged and paid for them to be shipped out last week, but the ship couldn't come because it was too windy.
"The zookeepers from the circus have been staying with the lions and tigers here at the park, feeding them and taking care of them.
"Everything has been OK, but we don't want this happening again - especially because of where they were keeping them in Salmabad.
"If this happens in the future and the circus has to leave the animals in Bahrain, then they need to ask us as the wildlife park is the proper place to keep these animals - not in an area near people's houses."
It is believed the same circus left the same group of big cats in 2011, resulting in the death of a lion cub that the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) attempted to rescue.
"We are incredibly disappointed that this has happened again because when it occurred before it caused the death of a young lion cub," said BSPCA spokeswoman Joyce Hughes.
"We were promised by the Ministry of Culture in a face-to-face meeting with them that although they could not guarantee the circus would not return, they would ensure the circus had all the correct paperwork for their exit out of Bahrain so they would not be able to abandon the animals again.
"But it has happened again, putting the animals and human beings in danger."
The animals are now due to be shipped to Oman on Thursday where they will continue to perform in the circus. Nobody from the Culture Ministry, which granted the circus permission to be in Bahrain, was available for comment. - TradeArabia News Service