One-year-old lioness brutally declawed in zoo so visitors can play with her

One-year-old lioness brutally declawed in zoo so visitors can play with her

A zoo located in the war-torn Gaza strip declawed one of its lionesses in a brutal manner so that visitors could play with her, Fox News reports.

The savage act was carried out on the then-14-month-old animal, named Falestine, earlier this year in February. It was reportedly done in a desperate bid to attract more visitors to Rafah zoo, thus generating more business.

The procedure was conducted by veterinarian Fayez al-Haddad, who cut off the sedated animal's claws using a pair of shears before stitching her paws back up. As there are no specialized animal hospitals in Gaza, it took place at the zoo, which lacks necessary facilities.

Animal welfare charity Four Paws posted footage of the procedure (Some may find the content disturbing,  v viewer discretion is advised)

"The owner of the oldest zoo in Gaza allows visitors to play with this lioness and therefore cruelly removed her claws with garden shears!" Four Paws explained. "Sadly, this is not the only animal suffering in the Rafah Zoo; just a couple of weeks ago 4 newborn lion cubs died due to the unusually cold weather and lack of proper care."

Several publications have reported that Four Paws compared the procedure to cutting off all of our fingers at the knuckle.

"For big cats, removing the claws is a particularly vicious procedure which causes long-lasting damage," Four Paws explained. "Natural behaviour, such as grabbing food or climbing, is hardly possible without an animal’s claws. Since the amputation was not done in a proper vet clinic, the chance of infection is high."

In spite of the backlash, Mohammed Jumaa, the zoo's owner, defended the zoo's actions, according to the MailOnline, saying: "I’m trying to reduce the aggression of the lioness so it can be friendly with visitors."

Haddad reportedly said the zoo hoped to "bring smiles and happiness to children, while increasing the number of visitors to the park, which suffers from high expenses."

Four Paws explained in a post to Instagram that it was campaigning for the zoo's closure "where over 40 more animals are kept in horrible conditions."

"Our team already started negotiations with the relevant authorities," the charity continued. "They urgently need our help! We’ll keep you updated about this case!"