Flies buzz around the emaciated body of a lion as it decays in the sun; nearby the mummified corpse baboon lies on the ground- it’s head still tilted up as though looking out of its enclosure, across from it a porcupine’s brittle spines protrude from its lifeless body.
They are among the dozens of animals which have died at Khan Younis zoo in the impoverished Gaza Strip after they were left without food.
Zoo owner Mohammed Awaida has blamed the Palestinian and Israeli conflict for the tragedy- claiming it meant that staff were unable to feed or care properly for the animals at the zoo.
Mr Awaida said he opened the ‘South Forest Park’ in 2007, only to lose a number of animals during Israel’s military offensive against Hamas that began in December 2008. During the three-week offensive, launched in response to rocket attacks on Israel, Awaida said he could not reach the zoo, and many animals died of neglect and starvation.
And it appears that history has repeated itself.
The fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants escalated last summer killing more than 1,960 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side.