- by Haneen Nofal
in Latest News
JERASH — Al Mawa for Nature and Wildlife has provided a number of animals rescued from war-torn countries in the region with a sense of normalcy after they experienced abject conditions following instability in the region.
Following great demand by Jordanians to visit the venue, the Jordanian wildlife shelter decided to open its doors to the public in October, with the aim of educating visitors with the methods of care the animals receive and the stories behind their rescues.
Mustafa Khraisat, the venue’s director, said they had started operating one-hour tours around the shelter to allow visitors to meet the animals and learn about their stories.
“Al Mawa is not only a manner in which to host animals, but also to protect forests and environmental diversity, and to shelter animals as a regional solution because of a lack of suitable locations for animals in the neighbouring countries,” he added.
A total of 23 animals live at the shelter, including 17 lions, two tigers and four bears, Khraisat said, adding that some of the animals were brought from Gaza, Mosul and Aleppo, while others were confiscated by the Jordanian authorities after people attempted to smuggle them through Jordan.
“We provide them with necessary food, medical treatment and psychotherapy, which is done in accordance with the nature of the animal and the conditions each animal has undergone,” he added.
Al Mawa’s director said a total of 26 employees, including animal care employees and veterinarians, work at the shelter.
Al Mawa is located on a 1,100-dunum plot of land in the northern city of Jerash, and the space designed to host the animals is between 80 to 90 dunums.
Khraisat added that they are ready to receive a limited number of animals, but “the cost of the animals’ treatment is high because it includes expensive medicine and vitamins brought from abroad”.
As soon as the shelter shared news of their new tours on Facebook, they started receiving visitors Khraisat said, adding that around 200-300 people visit them during the week, while they receive between 1,000 and 1,500 visitors on the weekends.
Samul Asmar, a visitor, said that when he heard the park hosts rescued animals from war-torn countries in the region, he decided to pay a visit.
“The good thing is that animals that had sustained injuries [due to clashes in neighbouring countries] are now receiving proper care,” he told The Jordan Times.
Angelina Gabrial, another visitor, added that humans’ personality sometimes changes if they are forced to leave their home due to political, social or economic factors, so animals are probably affected also, which can result in anxiety.
Al Mawa plans to open a visitors’ centre in the future which will include environmental courses for children, lodges and a restaurant, according to the park’s director.