Amid animal rights protests against Hai Park, a zoo in the Israeli northern city of Kiryat Motzkin, the Agriculture Ministry and the Nature and Parks Authority opened an investigation after social media post claimed that the conditions the animals are kept at the zoo are unacceptable. The row started when activist Nir David posted a picture on social media of two elephants apparently clinging to the wall of their enclosure to keep cool in its shade. As a consequence, a campaign to save the animals was launched by Lauren Tobaly, a math student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The animal rights activist Yesh Atid MK Yasmin Sacks-Friedman also visited the park, reporting afterward that although she had found some of the enclosures to be adequately maintained others were far below acceptable standards. She claimed that the lack of shade for the elephants, giraffes, monkeys and other animals was “the most serious defect.”
The park’s management wrote on Facebook that the elephants had enough shade from trees, from the wall during the morning hours, and a shade net in the centre of the display. Then representatives of the Agriculture Ministry and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority visited the facility and prohibited the park from accepting any new animals for the time being. A statement from the Agriculture Ministry said that several “enforcement procedures” had been conducted over recent months at the park and that several “deficiencies” had been found, not all of which had been corrected. Earlier this year, Channel 12 news published a picture of Sarah, an emaciated female tiger, who later died after an Agriculture Ministry’s vet anesthetized her to carry out a medical check.
The Israel branch of the Jane Goodall Institute became involved in the campaign. Co-director Dr. Itai Roffman, an evolutionary anthropologist, told the Times of Israel that he had been receiving information about the Kiryat Motzkin park for several months and had already sent a complaint to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.