Photo of the Week: Lions of Canaan

Photo credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Date taken: March 19, 2015
Location: Al-Shabora Refugee Camp, Rafah, Gaza Strip, Palestine

Saad Al-Jamal carries his two African lion cubs outside of his home in the Shabora Refugee Camp.

Nearly a year and a half ago, two lion cubs — named Fajr and Sejeel — were born in the Gaza Strip to much excitement. They died, however, days after their birth, most likely owing to a bug caught by a visitor or to the area’s general pollution.

Since then, Gaza’s zoos have acquired more lions. But the zoo carrying these two cubs could not keep up with the finances and resorted to selling them. Saad purchased the cubs three months ago and opened his house to them where they play with his four children. The lions have become a bit like celebrities in the besieged coastal enclave.

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