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Rescue at Gaddafi animal farm

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 - 02:16

Oct. 5 - Volunteers and fighters aid animals left to die at a farm once owned by former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Deborah Lutterbeck reports

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The entrance to an animal farm once owned by former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi -- west of his hometown of Sirte. Fighters loyal to the Libya's interim government found around 500 ostriches on the site -- abandoned without food or water. Veterinarian Belgasem al Sosi is now helping care for the animals. SOUNDBITE: Veterinarian Belgasem al Sosi, saying: (Arabic): "There were people who were in the reserve but they abandoned it. We asked about them but they said they had left. The director and the people worked here all left. So the animals were left here without food or water or care. Some of the animals were locked in their cages without anything. There were a lot of deaths and it was because of the hunger and thirst and not because they were sick." The sprawling reserve covering hundreds of square miles also contains large flocks of rare-breed camels, as well as herds of hybrid cattle Now the animals have been secured says Commander Abu Bakr Essa. SOUNDBITE: Commander Abu Bakr Essa, saying: (Arabic): "When we came here, the Gaddafi brigades were here. We had a confrontation with them and all the workers were gone and the ostriches were locked in the cages and a lot of them died. There were some 1,000 ostriches before and now there are some 500 of them, you found death everywhere around." The large birds have also been targeted by some civilians and fighters searching for food. Fighting between NTC forces and Gaddafi loyalists holding on to Sirte has created a humanitarian crisis in the city, with shortages of food, water and fuel. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.

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Rescue at Gaddafi animal farm

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 - 02:16