When FOUR PAWS liberated Laziz the Tiger from it's decaying zoo in Gaza, he hardly resembled anything close to the magnificent creature we all picture.
The miraculous recovery of this incredible beast is nothing short of awe inspiring.
In August of this year, in an operation FOUR PAWS dubbed 'Noah's Ark, the international animal welfare charity Four Paws went to the Gaza zoo and rescued a tiger named Laziz as well as 13 other creatures.
From the very first day Laziz was brought from Egypt into Gaza through a smuggling tunnel, the Tiger was held prisoner in an horrifically cramped cage at the zoo located in the Gaza Strip
FOUR PAWS discovered the poor sickly creature, feeding mostly on chicken carcasses and rotting fruit. His meager diet gave him few of the nutrients a tiger needed to survive.
For years he sat in his cramped cage, day after day, teased by the children who would run in fear if they ever came face to face with one of Laziz healthy brethren. But in his wekeaned malnutrisioned state Laziz posed little threat so these now courageous children came up close to his bars to throw nuts and stones at him.
At night there were no stars to look at, during the hot summer days there were no cooling dips in a watering hole, each moment in time only brought more misery for Laziz as well as any other animal that only seem to have had will power to survive those hellish days on earth.
Tigers are highly intelligent creatures so when Laziz arrived in South Africa, he was an understandably baffled by what lay before him. Trading in a home which was 32 square feet (10 sq. meters) in total for one that is 1,000 times greater in size can baffle anyone. So you can understand what Laziz had been subjected to for years, a typical Jail cell has approximately 60 Square feet.
Laziz by vet best estimates is around nine years old, but no one is quite certain. According the people who are keeping a close watch over Laziz, he spent the last two years of his life at the zoo near Gaza City living amid the bleached bones of the other animal inmates who had gradually died off.
As they watch Laziz take his first foray into a new life at an enclosure 1,000 times the size of his hell-hole cage, everyone was ecstatic and curious how he would adapt to his new life.
Years spent in a small, filthy enclosure, being fed the wrong diet, has left this mighty predator a lethargic shell of it's species. Nervous and uncertain of his own strengths and capabilities, Laziz seems almost frightened of his own shadow.
But within hours of his arrival at the Lion's Rock Big Cat Sanctuary 250 miles from Johannesburg, Laziz was showing the rangers and vets who will care for him until he dies, that his will to live never wavered and he was quickly gaining confidence in his new home.
Laziz lethargy was quickly fading as the Tiger jumped and ran to retrieve the beef strewn around his enclosure for him to hunt and enjoy the rewards of his labor.
Portions of his meal were placed onto the roof of a shelter to show him where he could sleep the midday heat away after dining.
The people who are tasked with bringing Laziz back from near death knew the pen where Laziz was being held left him no room to jump, so they feared the shelters roof would be to big a task and he would not have the strength to reach up and snatch the tantalizing meat that awaited him.
But their fears quickly vanished when Laziz proved he was up to the task as all 300lbs of rippling feline flesh was suddenly supported on his back legs as he stretched to get at the nourishment denied him for so long.
Laziz will now live out his days on the savanna in South Africa with real food, clean grounds, fresh air and the sights and sounds of 18 other freed tigers in enclosures all around him.
This article is based in part, off the original Daily Mail Article
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