Lion Cub Declawed By Zoo So Visitors Can ‘Play’ With It

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Lion's claws clipped at zoo so visitors can play with itFour Paws International/Instagram

A Palestinian zoo declawed one of their lions so visitors can ‘play’ with it – despite the fact it still has a mouth full of sharp teeth.

A vet at the Rafah zoo in the Gaza strip reportedly tended to a paw wound the 14-month-old lioness had before clipping off her claws with a pair of shears a couple of weeks ago.


Falestine the lion was tranquilised ahead of the procedure, which took place at the zoo rather than a specialised animal hospital.

Now her claws have been cut back, the zoo are advertising the opportunity to play with the lion, claiming she’s tame enough to meet visitors.

Lions claws cut off at zoo so visitors can 'play' with itFour Paws International/Instagram

According to the MailOnline, Mohammed Jumaa, the park’s owner, tried to defend the zoo’s unnecessary actions, saying:


I’m trying to reduce the aggression of the lioness so it can be friendly with visitors.

Fayez al-Haddad, the vet who operated on Falestine, described how they watched the lioness’ behaviour as she was taken out of her cage to meet some local residents, including children, for the first time on Tuesday (February 12).


Vet al-Haddad explained:


The claws were cut so that they would not grow fast and visitors and children could play with her.

We want to bring smiles and happiness to children, while increasing the number of visitors to the park, which suffers from high expenses.

[The lioness] does not lose its innate nature.

You can see Falestine having her claws clipped below.

WARNING: This video contains content some viewers may find disturbing:


Animal rights activists have said Falestine has been subjected to horrific pain, and that the zoo didn’t have the proper facilities to carry out the operation.

The MailOnline reports animal charity Four Paws explained:

For big cats, removing the claws is a particularly vicious procedure which causes long-lasting damage.

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.


Four Paws went on to claim Falestine isn’t the only animal at Rafah zoo which has been mistreated, saying there are around 50 animals, including five lions, a hyena, several monkeys, wolves, emus, cats, dogs and exotic birds, in deplorable conditions.

One 12-year-old boy who had the opportunity to get up close to the lioness said he enjoyed the experience, but the vet warned her claws are likely to grow back within six months.


al-Haddad added:

Lions will not give up their offensive instincts.

Removing the animal’s claws was a completely unnecessary thing to do; there’s no need for people to ‘play’ with animals which should be out in the wild.

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Topics: Animals


  1. MailOnline

    Lion is declawed by Palestinian zoo so visitors can 'play' with the animal - sparking anger from campaigners

Emily Brown
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