Images of a “zoo of horrors” in Riyadh

A very skinny lion at Hadiqat Abu Jarra zoo.
 
 
One of our Observers living in Riyadh recently visited a zoo there. She knew this zoo had a bad reputation, but what she saw was worse than anything she could imagine.
 
Laylah, a Finnish woman who lives in the Saudi Arabian capital, visited the “Hadiqat Abu Jarra” zoo, located within an amusement park called Fantasy Land, back in February. She discovered what she called “a zoo of horrors”: lion, tigers, bears, hyenas and other wild animals, most of them with only skin on their bones and living in tiny cages.
 
She sent photos she took of the animals to a Facebook group fighting for the zoo's closure. However, since the authorities never responded to these activists' calls, two weeks ago, Laylah reposted them on her blog, and signed a newly-launched online petition to close the zoo.
 
The petition, which hundreds have already signed, asks for the zoo to be closed and for the animals to be relocated somewhere where they could be better cared for. It also notes that according to the precepts of Islam, animals should never be mistreated.
 
FRANCE 24 has attempted to reach the zoo, and will publish the management’s reaction to this campaign as soon as we receive a reply.
 
 
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"The 'zoo' is only a few small metal cages placed next to each other"

The following description of the zoo is an excerpt from a longer piece Laylah posted on her blog.
 
Ever since I heard about a zoo called "Hadiqa Abu Jarrah" in Riyadh where animals are horribly mistreated, it has deeply disturbed me. When I finally got the chance to go check the place out it became apparent the zoo was much worse than I had imagined. I've actually never seen animals being treated so badly in my life - keeping in mind I've lived in the most rural parts of Africa and never saw anything pertaining to treatment of animals that was comparable to this misery. And here we are in Saudi Arabia, one of the richest countries in the world, a land where people are supposed to uphold Islamic teachings.
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The zoo's entrance.   
 
The actual “zoo” (…) is in reality only a few small metal cages placed next to each other. The animals have absolutely nothing in the cages, and they can see and hear the others at all times. There were many ill looking animals there. (…) Most shockingly, they had large animals such as a grizzly bear and adult lions in tiny cages.
 
The entrance to the zoo shows pictures of the owner, named Abu Jarrah, posing next to these animals. From the images, we get the impression the animals are there just to show them off. The rest of the time, they are forgotten and maintained by a single zookeeper, who my friends and I talked to.
 
Hyenas pacing in their cage.
 
We learned that he man pictured owns these animals and apparently, a few years back, he decided to set up this zoo and the animals were brought there and placed into the small torture cells for people to come look at for a fee of 20 riyal [including the entrance fee to the park, zoo visitors pay a total of 60 riyal, which is about 12 euros]. Previously, the animals had been on the man’s farm. There was no information about where or how he had gotten most of these animals, but there is clear indication most must have been brought into the country illegally.
 
 
"We were told the grizzly bear was smuggled in as a baby from the U.S."

The man has had this grizzly bear for 10 years. We were told it was smuggled in as a baby from the U.S. (…) Saudi Arabia does not have animal protection laws and the law banning trafficking of endangered animals is clearly not enforced whatsoever, which can be seen by going into any pet shop in the kingdom.

 
The bear has never been out of his prison, if you don't count the photo sessions with Abu Jarrah. The zookeeper was too afraid to even think of opening its cage for fear of his life. Grizzlies, like all bears, need to roam around extensively, have social contacts and hibernate. I doubt this bear ever had the chance to have any of those things.
 
 
The man working there told us he had in the past let some of the lions out to an area in the back of the zoo. I pleaded him to let them out while we were there and to show us this place. He told me absolutely not, that he once had a female reporter visit and the lion had tried to attack her, wounding her badly. The zookeeper said getting the lion back inside the cage is almost impossible. Wonder why?
 
A baby monkey tied to his cage with a piece of string. 
 
This zoo of horrors has been haunting me. I contacted a Facebook group I knew that rallies for animal rights in the Kingdom. Er7amni Animal Rights Group has been working to help these animals. Some letters were sent out to the Ministry of Agriculture. We have been waiting for results but it seems there has been no change and that the animals still remain in their misery.
 
"These animals eat, sleep and eliminate their waste in the same place", Laylah writes. 
 
"I guess this informative sign speaks for itself about the expertise and knowledge of the wild animals kept there," Laylah writes. (Lions have not roamed Europe since pre-historic times.)

Comments

Riyadh Zoo of Horrors

The condition of the animals in this private Riyadh "zoo" are indeed barbaric, unsafe and unsanitary. Saudis treat unwanted pets and domestic animals the same way.

But during several years residence in that city, I personally witnessed HUMAN BEINGS being held under similar conditions. Saudis import hundreds of thousands of foreign women, typically poor, Asian and uneducated, as indentured domestic servants. They cannot leave their master's residence without permission, to include leaving KSA before they have completed their labor contracts... a literal formal system of indenture. As often the only unrelated women in the household, these women frequently experience sexual assault and violent exploitation. Significant numbers try to flee these horrors, but without funds and an exit visa issued at the discretion of their employer, they are arrested and placed in special detention facilities, under medieval conditions. Many arrive pregnant due to rape by their employer's male relatives. Because of the "dishonor" these women represent under the wahabi version of shariah, their employers and police authorities collude to allow them to languish in these specialized zoo/prisons, often for years, until they can be expelled anonymously. The consular officials from these women's countries are aware of the abuse, but won't protest for fear of an adverse effect on recruitment, and thus the income stream from their repatriated pay.

My God, if I only I had known

My God, if I only I had known this before I might have saved my friend from going there. Sadly now she is stuck there for 2years, I don't know how she'd survive. Her Sponsor offered her an indecent proposal on the context that the promised position and salary will be held until she submits to his evil desires.
I am so ashamed to say that in the land of Prophets Mohammad (S.A.W.) and Ibrahim (A.S.), these things go unnoticed and unchallenged.

Wretched, Inhumane Treatment at Riyadh Zoo

These photos are horrifying! They show absolute lack of knowledge of animal needs and rights and no degree of caring. What can be done? (Saudi Arabia is a country which lacks respect for women, demonstrated in many forms. Can we expect more concern for the needs, rights, and feelings of animals?)

image of zoo ...

This is unblievable.every years milions of people around the world sacrificeing animal(moslems haj) .they could give few meat of those to thise poor animals.and also this cuntry's very ver.....rich.why they are doing this kind behiver??????I don't know.

Zoo of Horrors

I'd suggest sticking the cretin owner from Riyadh in one of his cages with either the lions or grizzly bear for starters!

ZOO

THIS MAN SHOULD BE PUT IN A CAGE, NOT FED AND TREATED LIKE HE TREATS THOSE ANIMALS. HE'S A DISGRACE TO MANKIND!!!!!!

The cost of abused animals

Its a shame that we as human beings allow such pain and suffer in any of the life forms on earth. We should seriously question whether we are the dominate INTELLIGENT? lieform on earth. Doesn't the bible make reference to use being held accountable for the wellfare of the lesser lifeforms on earth? Maybe those who abuse or use animals wrongly will have this way heavily against them as to their destination in the afterlife. My spirit feels for their suffering. Would you want to be treated this way living on earth. My hope is that their suffering doesn't last long and their spirits are set free.

TREATMENT

IT IS NOT A NEW THING AND ITS VERY WELL SPREAD WHETER A CIRCUS,PRIVATE ZOO OR PUBLIC..ANIMALS ARE MOST OF THE TIME MIS TREATED DUE TO THE ENORMOUS IGNORANCE OF THE RULES OF LIFE FROM OWNERS..THEY ARE NOT PETS,SO THEY WILL NOT ''OBEY''AS ONE WOULD LIKE..
SO REMEMBER TWO THINGS...1 THE LAW OF PHYSICS,EVERY ACTION PRODUCES A CONTRARY REACTION
2- INTELLIGENCE CAN BE MEASURED..BUT IGNORANCE NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Very sad to see

Very sad to see this...........!!!!!!!

Saudi contempt for animals and for God's teachings

What an absolute disgrace. Is Saudi Arabia a civilised country? Do Saudi's have any feelings of any kind either for humans or animals, or are all Gods creatures treated in this same inhumane way? This zoo speaks volumes for the contempt that must be endemic in Saudi for any living creature. I can see now how Osma Bin Laden came to have the views he had on his fellow human beings.

Saudi Arabia may be the richest nation on earth, but it most certainly is one of the poorest nations when it comes to empathy.

Let's hope that God will be more merciful to the Saudi's than they are to animals.

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