ASHEBORO, N.C.—The North Carolina Zoo, working with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the World Association of Zoos & Aquariums, and several other international animal welfare organizations, is leading an effort to provide funds to assist animals in the Tripoli Zoo in the capital city of war-torn Libya.
N.C. Zoo Director Dr. David Jones is spearheading the effort to raise up to $100,000 to pay for animal food, the most pressing need for the zoo at this time, according to sources in Libya. Television reports from CNN and MSNBC as well as a number of international print articles last week documented the plight of animals in the Tripoli Zoo where civil war has left the animals short of food and water.
According to information obtained from animal welfare organizations in nearby Egypt and other sources, the water problem had improved by the end of last week. But money for animal food is not readily available and only about a one-week food supply was on hand at the zoo. Jones is working with the Boston-based International Fund for Animal Welfare, which has recently been successful in providing some funds to Tripoli Zoo officials, to determine the best means for getting funds to the Libyan zoo. In addition, he is in discussions with CNN to determine if the cable network, which has news crews in Tripoli, can provide assistance.
Jones worked for many years with zoos in the Middle East during his 25-year tenure with the London Zoo before moving to North Carolina in 1993. He has previously led successful international fundraising efforts for Afghanistan’s Kabul Zoo in 2001 and Iraq’s Baghdad Zoo in 2003.
News coverage has indicated that the zoo’s buildings and infrastructure remain in fairly good condition, unlike the war damage to zoos in Kabul and Baghdad. Electricity is also reportedly available at the zoo, although service has been lost intermittently. But there are no immediate plans to send personnel into Tripoli due to the remaining concern over security, Jones said.
As it did for the Kabul and Baghdad zoos, the N.C. Zoological Society, the N.C. Zoo’s private support organization, will again administer the funds for the Tripoli Zoo effort. Contributions should be marked for the “Tripoli Zoo” and may be sent to: N.C. Zoo Society, 4403 Zoo Parkway, Asheboro, N.C. 27205. In addition, donations via credit card can be made beginning Thursday, September 8, on the Zoo Society’s website at www.nczoo.com.
The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee A. Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.
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