Wild At Life Project

Ziniaré Zoo Rescue

Endangered Species Rescue

Activity status: Accomplished
Area of Activity: Ziniaré Zoo, Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is facing a severe war conflict involving Islamic extremist groups and government forces. The conflict began in 2015, and since then, thousands of people have been killed, and over one million people have been displaced.

Image of Alma the Lioness on the first day of investigation and rescue. She is one of the four lions left on the brink of death; she is Blind.

The extremist groups are mainly active in the northern and eastern regions of the country, where they have carried out attacks on schools, places of worship, and other public places, resulting in the deaths of civilians and security forces. The groups are also involved in kidnapping and extortion, and they use landmines and improvised explosive devices to disrupt government and civilian activities. The conflict has led to a humanitarian crisis, with widespread food insecurity and limited access to healthcare and education. The government has struggled to contain the violence, and there are concerns that the conflict could spread to neighboring countries, exacerbating the instability in the region.

Wild at Life e.V. took on another urgent mission to help rescue 47 animals found in Burkina Faso – hungry and weak due to malnutrition, while some animals had already died of starvation.

Together with our partner The Association for the Protection of Fauna and Flora, we investigated Ziniare Zoo in Burkina Faso. Upon inspection of the 112 hectares zoo, the team found dozens of endangered species on the verge of death. Hungry, weak, and exploited for profit at every stage of their lives. The more we inspected, the greater the horror was uncovered.

We have learnt that in the last six years, most of the captive animals had died from lack of care and food.

When our team inspected the porcupines’ cage, we were met with the smell of decay and we knew that we were too late. The animals took their last breath in our presence. They had been locked and left to rot for too long. The situation was devastating.

Inventory of Animals in distress found at the Zoo:

  • West African Lioness x4 : Alma(Blind), Mala, Nala, and Dona
  • Striped Hyena x1 : Loca
  • Hippopotamus x 2
  • Family of red-necked ostriches (free-roaming)
  • Horses (free-roaming)
  • Family of tortoises
  • Family of monkeys
  • Elks
Alma the blind lioness

Action and improvements

Our promise to help the 47 starving animals at Ziniaré Zoo was a very long and emotional journey. Wild at Life e.V. is honoured and humbled to disclose that the zoo is now closed and the power of attorney issued to take further action. It took a lot of logistics, a lot of nutritional support, and a lot of work to bring them all back to health and they finally have comfortable lives after months of starvation.

The four West African Lions, Alma(Blind), Mala, Dona, and Nala are starting to thrive and enjoy each other’s company after a lifetime spent trapped in individual cages. Alma, who is blind, will never gain her sight back. Her life in captivity, her past bad nutritional care, and her old age are contributing factors but we will make sure she is always provided with the best care in the last years of her life at the sanctuary.

The Future

Wild at Life e.V. and The Protection of Fauna and Flora are transforming the once zoo into a sanctuary – making the park self-sustainable so that conservation and preservation of species is the main priority. With one less zoo in the world, as well as rescuing and rehabilitating all 47 animals, this was a huge success rescue mission.

The fight doesn't end here

A frequently underestimated part of conservation efforts is what happens after the immediate rescue of an animal. Consider virtually adopting one of the primates to help us sustain our work.

Thank you for your never-ending support!

Update: August 6, 2023

RIP Alma

Four days before World Lion Day 2023, Alma passed at the age of 23.

Along with Mala, Nala, and Dona, Alma was part of the 47 animals neglected and deprived in a Burkinabe zoo. Their strength and perseverance held on until the arrival of aid from Wild at Life e.V. and The Association for the Protection of Fauna and Flora in 2019.

Alma’s advanced age and previously inadequate nutritional care contributed to her permanent blindness. Although we were aware of her limited years ahead, we were determined to make her final handful of years as comfortable as possible. She lived bravely for another three years.

Alma the fighter shared a profound bond with her lion companions and was reciprocally cherished. Her absence leaves a void not only within our hearts, but within those of Mala, Nala, and Dona as well.

Update: November 18, 2020

Ziniaré Zoo Rescue – Published on The Epoch Times

The Epoch Times published an article on Wild at Life e.V.’s Ziniaré Zoo mission, detailing the improvements seen after Wild at Life e.V.’s intervention. For example, the hippos now have a clean pool, which was half-empty before and filled with algae. The article is in English.

Update: November 3, 2020

Ziniaré Zoo Rescue – Published on RTL News

This video by RTL News shows the horrible living conditions of the zoo animals in Ziniaré Zoo. The article and subtitle are in German.

Update: October 25, 2020

Ziniaré Zoo Rescue – Published on VN Express

VN Express reports on Ziniaré Zoo in Burkina Faso, where 98% of the animals that were raised in the past six years of the zoo’s operation have died. The article is in Vietnamese.

Update: October 23, 2020

Ziniaré Zoo Rescue – Published on news.com.au

news.com.au covers Wild at Life e.V.’s Ziniaré Zoo rescue mission including pictures of the animals’ first meal in weeks. The article is in English.

Update: October 22, 2020

Ziniaré Zoo Rescue – Published on blitztvit

BlitzTV Italy posted a video on Wild at Life e.V.’s Ziniaré Zoo mission. The Instagram post is in Italian.

Update: October 22, 2020

Ziniaré Zoo Rescue – Published on The Sun

The Sun details the horrifying scenes found at Ziniaré Zoo where the animals – living in their own waste – are left to fend for themselves. And the surviving ones were so weak from the lack of food that they mostly only slept. The article is in English.

This project is carried out in the following activity areas
Providing Aid in War-Torn Regions

Spread the news!

Help us increasing social commitment in saving endangered wild species. Express your support by sharing this article in your favorite social media channel.


Most recent news

May 10, 2024

Exciting news from our sanctuary! We’re thrilled to introduce you to the newest member of our rescue family: Madeleine, a baby buffalo! Though her start in life was tough, this little fellow is already stealing hearts. Found near her mother’s

Project update
May 6, 2024

Wild at Life operates an elephant sanctuary in Zambia, home to 9 poaching and drought survivors, alongside Sox the hippo. Let by the matriarch Madinda, they are living peacefully, roam freely, crossing the river daily and sometimes venturing into Zimbabwe

Project update
April 29, 2024
Project update
April 29, 2024
April 8, 2024

At Wild at Life, we don’t just rescue and protect animals—we also teach young people about important things like animal rights, saving wildlife, and the different kinds of animals on our planet, especially in Turkey. We run programs that help

Project update
April 7, 2024

Because of climate change, there’s been more rain in the area where we work. This shelter, one of five we have in Turkey, is home to lots of dogs. It’s our biggest shelter and it’s in a cold place. We

Stay informed!

Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with our activities!

By subscribing you consent to our Privacy Policy

Search for more