1. ITV Report

Lion and bear close to death rescued from Mosul zoo

Simba and Lula were found abandoned and close to starvation. Credit: Four Paws

A lion and a bear, the last two surviving animals from an abandoned zoo in Mosul, have been rescued.

Lula and Simba were found at the Motazah al-Morour Zoo, close to death from starvation and suffering many illnesses as a result.

They were the only two animals, from more than 50 just several months ago, to have not died.

The animals were found close to starvation. Credit: Four Paws

On Monday the pair finally arrived in Jordan, after they were rescued from the war-torn city in Iraq by Four Paws, an international animal welfare charity.

Although the pair were rescued from the zoo on March 28, the lorry they were travelling in was detained at a checkpoint and the animals were not allowed to leave the city for two weeks.

But after intense negotiations, the pair were allowed out of Mosul on their way to The New Hope Centre in Jordan where they arrived on Monday.

Simba is transported to safety. Credit: Four Paws

Mosul is the last major urban stronghold of so-called Islamic State in Iraq, and fierce fighting is underway in the city as Iraqi troops try to drive the militants out.

In the past six months, fierce fighting has caused many civilian casualties, and hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes.

Lula is transported to safety. Credit: Four Paws

Earlier in 2016, the battle for the eastern-half of Mosul almost destroyed the privately-owned zoo, and the animal which did not die in the fighting succumbed to starvation after it was abandoned.

"This is a beginning of a new life for the animals," Dr Amir Khalil, an Egyptian-Austrian vet who headed the Four Paws mission said.

"From now on, they won't have to be part of this war."