The Sudan Zoo includes many wild animals such as crocodiles, lions, ostriches, some primates, various birds, hyenas and deer.
Animals in Sudan were also not spared from the bloody confrontations that have taken place since mid-April between the army and the Rapid Support Forces, which have so far displaced more than 700,000 people.
And after the process of accessing the Sudan Zoo in the capital, Khartoum, became almost impossible due to the raging fighting, environmental activists feared for dozens of animals, including elderly crocodiles, parrots and giant lizards.
“No less than 100 animals have been kept in pens, and more than three weeks have passed since they were left without food or water,” says Dr. Sarah Abdullah, director of the Sudan Museum of Natural History.
“I feel so miserable and sad,” she said in a phone interview.
The zoo, which is located inside the University of Khartoum, is one of the oldest and largest zoos in Sudan, and includes multiple animal species.
The facility was established about a century ago as part of Gordon Memorial University, an educational institution built in the early 20th century when Sudan was part of the British Empire.
The park includes many wild animals such as crocodiles, lions, ostriches, some primates, various birds, hyenas and deer, in addition to domesticated animals. The purpose of raising domesticated animals in the park is to increase local production of meat and dairy and self-sufficiency.
The garden, located in southeast Khartoum, is located near one of the military headquarters that witnesses clashes on a daily basis, and it is part of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production at the University of Sudan.
Since the outbreak of the confrontations on April 15, the capital Khartoum has been witnessing a state of chaos resulting from the battles between the army led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces led by Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo, known as “Hemedti”.
Abdullah, who teaches zoology at the University of Khartoum, began working at the museum in 2006 and was appointed director of the facility in 2020.
And she got the job she dreamed of ever since she visited the museum as a child.
Today, trapped in her home in southern Khartoum with her husband and two children, 9-year-old Yara and 4-year-old Mohamed, she is very worried about the trapped animals, who are hungry and thirsty.
The animals had previously survived the political turmoil in Sudan, the economic collapse and the closures during the Corona period.
The battles that have been taking place for more than three weeks have resulted in 750 dead and five thousand wounded, according to the data of the Armed Conflict Location and Events (ACLED), and have also prompted hundreds of thousands to flee internally or seek refuge in neighboring countries.
Neither the army nor the Rapid Support Forces responded to the calls made by the animal welfare authorities.
The United Nations said that the continuation of the war could push 2.5 million people to starvation, which means that the number of people suffering from “severe food shortages” will rise to 19 million within months.
And it warned of an exacerbation of the humanitarian crisis, knowing that facilities of the United Nations and other relief organizations were subjected to “large-scale looting”, including the World Food Program in Khartoum over the weekend, a United Nations spokesman said Monday.