- Title: GAZA: Zoo turns donkeys into zebras for children living in the besieged strip
- Date: 12th October 2009
- Summary: GAZA CITY, GAZA (RECENT) (AMATEUR VIDEO) AMATEUR VIDEO OF THE PAINTING OF THE ZEBRA CAUGHT ON MOBILE PHONE VARIOUS OF WHITE DONKEY WITH TAPE BEING PAINTED WITH BLACK STRIPES MORE OF DONKEY BEING PAINTED BY MAN CAUGHT ON MOBILE PHONE GAZA
- Embargoed: 27th October 2009 18:37
- Topics: Environment / Natural World,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA6X9ZDPMTCSN7HBSV9WWA4W4QA
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Two donkeys turned into zebras in a Gaza zoo, after the original animals died during Israel's January offensive on the Hamas-controlled strip.
Two white donkeys dyed with black stripes delighted Palestinian kids at a small Gaza zoo on Thursday (October 8) who had never seen a zebra in the flesh.
With their long ears, drooping heads and sleepy eyes, the impostors probably would not have fooled a lioness. But effect achieved by the zoo owners' dye job applied with masking-tape looks not so bad -- to the unpractised eye, and from a distance.
"As for our zoo, all the zoos in Gaza are small and not a complete zoo. It is whatever we can get in Gaza, and many of these animals we receive via the tunnels," Mohamad Barhgouthi the owner of the zoo told Reuters.
On closer inspection these donkeys resemble the classic striped convict suit of cartoon strips.
Nidal Barghouthi, whose father owns the Marah Land zoo, said the two female donkeys were striped using masking tape and women's hair dye applied with a paint-brush.
"We have made a striped donkey for two reasons. The first reason so that the children would see a striped donkey and think zebra and then they might feel like they saw a new animal today. The second reason is because it is difficult to get a striped donkey (Zebra) because it is very expensive and all the animals we get we smuggle them inside. It is difficult to get a wild donkey smuggled in and they are very expensive to bring," Barghouthi explains.
A genuine zebra would have been too expensive to bring into Israel-blockaded Gaza via the smuggling tunnels under the border with Egypt, said owner Mohammed Bargouthi. It would have cost me $40,000 to get a real one. he added.
Gaza Palestinians are impoverished by their isolation under an Israeli embargo against its Islamist Hamas rulers who refuse to give up armed resistance against the Jewish state.
Bargouthi's zoo charged an entrance fee of just $15 for a full busload of children.
A bus load of children with their teachers arrived at the zoo for a day trip. Asked if she noticed the painted donkey the teacher told Reuters: "I thought it was a wild donkey (zebra) but it now I see it is a regular donkey as I now see. (Question: So what are you going to tell the children?) Am going to tell them donkey what else."
The painted donkeys were later used by the children for donkey rides and was able to bring joy and a smile to the faces of children who are living in the besieged Gaza Strip, an impoverished area with frequent violence.
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