The Last Zoo in the West Bank


Lying within a tight curve in Israel’s ‘separation wall’, the town of Qalqilya is almost completely cut off from the rest of the West Bank. Residents are annexed from land, water, work and family.


At the edge of the town is a zoo - the last in the region. It’s rare place for fun and recreation; welcome things for a town that’s existed at the frontline of Israel’s brutal occupation for the last 45 years. Although a little rough around the edges, the zoo has continued through waves of violence, occupation and financial hardship. It’s still got a tiger, wolves, monkeys, birds and a bear, along with playgrounds and educational exhibits.


Occupation hasn’t been kind on the zoo’s animal residents. During the Second Intifada, clouds of teargas killed several zebra. The zoo’s giraffe died after running into a wall during nearby gunfire. But testament to the tenacity of the zoo’s owner, these animals were swiftly resurrected under his taxidermist’s knife and continue to educate and entertain in the zoo’s slightly bonkers natural history museum.

 

Here are a few snaps taken on a visit this spring. 
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