#WATWB: Saving Animals in Mosul Zoo

Posted: 2017/04/28 in Blogging
Tags: , , , , ,

Something that has troubled me for a long, long time. What is the fate of the animals in conflict zones? When humans clash in heedless violence and bullets whizz in the air and bombs drop like rain, and there is destruction everywhere . . . what happens to the animals entrusted to us? Animals trapped in zoos and cages, abandoned in the buildings that are later on turned into rubble?

We need animals just as need one another. People can get the chance to escape but not the animals. Refugees never come with the animals which had been in their care. And we never hear the governments say, “Evacuate the animals as well”, before they start bombing.

Today, for WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB, I bring you the story of my new hero, DR. AMIR KHALIL, who braved ISIS in order to save the animals trapped in Mosul Zoo. Dr. Khalil works with the animal charity called FOUR PAWS based in Vienna.

Having to leave his scared family behind, uncertain but remembering his duty to the unfortunate animals of earth, Dr. Khalil lead his team of equally wonderful people into Mosul, even as the terrifying Islamic State was issuing warnings that anyone wishing to stay alive should vacate the city immediately. They managed to save a lion and a bear, the only two surviving animals in the ruined zoo.

Dr. Khalil

Credit: BBC

Today is the second celebration of the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB which is carried out every last Friday of the month, and which aims to spread love and positiveness in this vulnerable world. A celebration of heroes who can still restore our faith in humanity, especially in this period when our world seems to be full of endless series of horrible happenings.

The co-hosts include:  Belinda Witzenhausen,  Inderpreet Uppal,  Mary GieseSimon Falk and myself.


To sign up for We Are The World Blogfest, please see the guidelines below.


  1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news  about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
  3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
  6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List
  1. dweezer19 says:

    Why are the animals so overlooked? 😔Even one saved is a miracle. Tha ks for sharing Peter.

    • Peter Nena says:

      Thanks Cheryl. I’m just grateful there are people like Dr. Khalil in the world. Risking their lives to save animals. After watching so many animal videos, I have noticed that we humans do not really have special adaptations to live on earth. Animals do. The earth belongs to the animals. They understand it.

  2. Dan Antion says:

    What a heart-warming story, Peter. It’s so sad to read and think about the fate of animals, trapped for our “enjoyment” and then abandoned in our conflict. God bless these brave people!

    • Peter Nena says:

      Indeed, blessings upon them! To brave ISIS in order to save animals! These people deserve all the love we can give them. Thank you, Dan.

  3. I loved this piece and I adore the idea behind this…. I would love to do a piece for #WATWB. i have suffered horribly from writer’s block, so any topic ideas would be so much appreciated. Kudos Peter. Phenomenal. ❤

  4. simonfalk28 says:

    Peter, this is very thoughtful and makes so much sense. How often do we consider how much is truly damaged in war? Thanks for letting us know about this and for co-hosting with us this month. Simon’s Still Stanza #WATWB

  5. Kudos to these brave and kind people who understand all beings suffer in times of conflict. Thanks for sharing this story, and for co-hosting this month’s gathering of positivity and light.

  6. Ally Bean says:

    What a brave and wonderful man! I am inspired by his example of common sense kindness in a difficult, deplorable situation. Those are two lucky animals. We all do what we can with what we’ve got, eh?

  7. bikerchick57 says:

    I truly appreciate the bravery and work of Dr. Khalil, to save animals when his life is on the line. I don’t know if I would have that kind of courage, so I truly applaud him and the Four Paws organization.

    • Peter Nena says:

      Thank you, Mary. I was touched by his bravery and kindness. He’s a great man. His team too. They are a special lot. Thanks.

  8. […] The co-hosts include:  Belinda Witzenhausen,  Inderpreet Uppal,  Mary Giese, Simon Falk and Peter Nena. […]

  9. God bless Dr. Khalil. Humanity is judged by how it treats its weakest, and its animals.

  10. Inderpreet says:

    This resonates on so many levels. I just saw the movie The Zookeeper’s wife and I can imagine the plight of the animals. Thank god, they could save a few.

    Thank you so much! Team #WATWB

    • Peter Nena says:

      It does resonate a lot. I’m just grateful he managed to save some. Thank you for being part of the #WATWB. Do have a wonderful weekend.

  11. I love stories like these! Thank you for sharing the work of another inspiring person.

  12. ericlahti says:

    Man, that takes some moxie to walk into ISIS territory. My hat is off to that man.

  13. That is an incredible story, and not without its dangers. Not only is he braving a battlefield, he has to figure out how to rescue potentially dangerous animals, who are also terrified.

  14. I shudder to think of the poor animals in war-torn zones…
    Thank goodness for the dedication of individuals like Dr. Khalil and the work he does with the FOUR PAWS organization.
    It requires deep passion to do what he does.
    Passion is one of the most powerful engines of success. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Nothing great was ever achieved without passion.”
    Thank you for sharing this story. 🙂

    Writer In Transit

    • Peter Nena says:

      The animals are never mentioned among the casualties of war. What constant war does to the ecosystem is horrifying.
      Thank you, Michelle.

  15. Wow, this is beyond extraordinary! I honestly couldn’t, wouldn’t do it.
    #WATWB at Life & Faith in Caneyhead

  16. JoAnna says:

    Thank you for caring about animals and for posting this.

    • Peter Nena says:

      Thank you, JoAnna. Animals understand earth better than us. I watched a documentary about some ants in Indonesian forests that herd aphids the way we herd cattle. They care for those aphids more than we can ever care for anything. They know it’s about to rain long before the clouds even form. And they keep the aphids from the rain, hiding them under the leaves until the rain has passed. I was astounded. We are the ones who need animals in order to survive. They can do without us. Thanks.

  17. JoAnna says:

    Reblogged this on Anything is Possible! and commented:

    Animals are never counted among the casualties of war. Animals in zoos cannot escape. I’m thankful some one cares. Reblogging this story of compassion from Peter Nena.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s