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Iraq Asks World To Help Replenish Baghdad Zoo

A U.S. soldier watches over a Bengal tiger in Baghdad's zoo that was donated by a U.S. conservation group.
BAGHDAD -- Barred by international conventions from replenishing the Baghdad zoo with exotic animals like elephants and giraffes, Iraq is making a worldwide appeal for animals.

Zoo Director Adil Salman Musa told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq that as a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the zoo cannot buy animals on the market.

Zoo officials are therefore asking the Foreign Ministry to help it acquire some animals that can only be obtained as a donation from another country.

Officials hope to tap into the same goodwill shown by animal organizations worldwide who helped many zoo animals when Baghdad was unstable after the fall of leader Saddam Hussein and animals lacked food and proper care.

Baghdad Parks Director Salah Abu Lail said that the zoo currently has some 1,150 animals, including lions and tigers, but no elephants, zebras, or giraffes.