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Neglected Animals Starve in Mosul Zoo

A once-peaceful animal park that, like much of the city, was destroyed by months of fighting between Iraqi forces and ISIS militants.

A starving lion waits in its cage at the zoo in Mosul, Iraq on Feb. 2, 2017. This lion and one bear are the only animals left in the destroyed zoo.

Muhammad Hamed / Reuters

A lion in its cage looks at a dead lioness in a grave.

Muhammad Hamed / Reuters

A bear sits in its cage. 

When military advances began in Mosul, Nour Park was turned from a home for monkeys, horses and other animals into a staging ground for ISIS.

Muhammad Hamed / Reuters

A sign reads "Nour Park" in Arabic at the zoo. 

Muhammad Hamed / Reuters

Children play at Nour Park. The park, also filled with colorful children's rides, is in the eastern half of the city, which was recently retaken by Iraqi forces.

Muhammad Hamed / Reuters

Volunteers sent by the Kurdistan Organization for Animal Rights Protection brought the first substantial amounts of food to the former zoo in a month.

People living nearby said they had been bringing leftovers to animals, but it was not enough as many people struggled to find food for themselves and their families.

Muhammad Hamed / Reuters

A cage which was hit by a shell, allowed monkeys to escape, at Nour Park.

Muhammad Hamed / Reuters
Mortar shells left behind by ISIS militants at the zoo. Muhammad Hamed / Reuters

A starving bear pokes its snout through the bars of a cage. 

"The battle lasted for three or four months. There was a guard that used to come and feed them," the park's owner, who gave his name only as Abu Omar, told Reuters.

PHOTOS: Iraqi Forces Fight to Recapture Mosul Block by Block

Muhammad Hamed / Reuters