A Palestinian man has provided animals with a place of sanctuary in the besieged Gaza Strip, by creating his very own zoo in his apartment in the Al-Shati refugee camp, Gaza City, as seen in a report by Ruptly on Monday.
Rasheed Anbar, who cares for about 40 animals in his Gaza Strip apartment, attracted attention for his Facebook page ‘Animal Friend Initiative,’ which he began as a way of encouraging a “culture of animal welfare” in the Strip, particularly among the younger generations.
As part of this, he attends local schools and kindergartens, bringing with him animals including reptiles, monkeys, birds and cats, so that children can have a fun and educational experience away from the everyday reality of the blockade.
He explained that children – many of whom are traumatised by the ongoing violence in the region – could be helped by contact with animals.
“Unfortunately, our children are so violated. A three-year-old child has already witnessed three wars. It’s normal that they need psychological support,” he said, adding that the positive impact he’s seen on his own children has given him the motivation to carry on with his work, despite facing countless difficulties.
“As young people in the Gaza Strip, we are unemployed and we have graduated as students. We have no source of income and I work for short periods so that I can save some money to buy a bird or animal that I really love,” Anbar explained.
Anbar also preserves animals through taxidermy, which he learnt through books and Internet articles. His wish is to one day be able to buy a bus to be able to transport the animals more easily.