Wild At Life Project

From Neglect to Care: Restoring the Lives of Abandoned Zoo Animals in Nigeria

Activity status: Ongoing
Area of Activity: Nigeria

Nigeria is facing a complex war conflict that involves various armed groups, including Boko Haram, bandits, and separatists. Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group, is primarily active in the northeast region of the country, where they have carried out numerous attacks on civilians and government forces, resulting in thousands of deaths and displacements.

Bandits, on the other hand, are involved in kidnappings and cattle rustling in the northwest region, while separatist groups are agitating for independence in the southeast region. The conflict has resulted in widespread violence, with communities caught in the crossfire and facing displacement, food insecurity, and limited access to basic services. The Nigerian government has struggled to contain the violence, and there are concerns that the conflict could have broader implications for the region’s stability.

After successfully shutting down Kaduna Zoo in 2021 and relocating the animals to appropriate facilities, Wild at Life e.V. has another rescue request in Nigeria again.

As most zoos in Nigeria are state-owned, they are largely dependent on the government for monetary support. Hypothetically, passive income from entrance fees could be a source of funding for zoos. But with the tickets priced as low as a mere few dollars, many zoos struggle to provide adequate veterinary care and food for the animals.

Unfortunately, things are no different for this zoo. Irregular – and in most cases, insufficient – funding from Nigerian authorities, exacerbated by the current rising global inflation, makes it almost impossible for the employees to keep the zoo afloat.

Currently, there are three lions in horrible states, five hyenas, three crocodiles, three ostriches, and several primates, all in urgent need of help and a way out. The animals are starving and with the lack of husbandry cleaning and maintenance, the spread of illnesses and diseases is not uncommon.

Furthermore, footage from concerned citizens sent to Wild at Life e.V. shows locals looting animals.

With the lack of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Nigeria, Wild at Life e.V. is looking to take matters into their own hands to nurse them back to health, before they can be handed over to trusted, local teams who will continue to care for them.

A primate left to die
A dead primate
A crocodile left to die

Instability, corruption – the zoo animals in Nigeria do not stand a chance for a fair fight. The need to relieve their plight has never been this urgent. And to do so, Wild at Life e.V. needs your support to fund this rescue operation.

Asli Han Gedik, founder of Wild at Life e.V. added: “As an international NGO, we are present in Nigeria for some years and we have rescued countless animals, worked towards ending wet markets, and shut down zoos that are in horrific conditions such as Kaduna Zoo. It saddens us to see no further development taken on by stakeholders and we are shocked that this still happens in various zoos across Nigeria. We do hope we can assist the country’s wildlife and work closely with the new government.

We need your help

in order to continue providing for the animals. Recovery does not happen overnight and with the worsening inflation in Nigeria, funding for the animals rises every month. Consider being an adoption guardian of Ton and Mirella (lions) or Hanena (Hyena),

Thank you for your never-ending support.

Update: March 15, 2024

Shocking News from Nigeria

Tragedy Strikes: Loss of Dr. Olabode Olawuyi in Lion Attack

Wild at Life e.V. is an international conservation & rescue NGO acting in the field of antipoaching, illegal wildlife trade, canned hunting, war zone / natural disaster rescue & animal welfare by providing them with safe habitat, promoting public awareness & community-led conservation,supporting wildlife conservation efforts & advocating for policies that protect & preserve natural habitat.

Wild at Life e.V. is a big part of the global effort to save wildlife. They help local communities by creating jobs and providing goods and services. Recently, we got a call from Dr. Olabode Olawuyi, who used to run a zoo at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). He asked for help with 19 hungry wild animals left at the university, like lions, hyenas, ostriches, and more. Wild at Life e.V. wanted to move these animals to safer places in Africa, but the Nigerian Government said no. So, the we now giving emergency care and support to these animals on-site. This sad situation shows that many zoos in Nigeria are struggling without enough food, money, staff, or vets. Wild at Life e.V. is doing what they can to help these neglected animals.

In a heartbreaking turn of events, the team at Wild at Life e.V. is reeling from the loss of Dr. Olabode Olawuyi, who tragically lost his life while caring for the lions he had dedicated nearly a decade to. Last Monday, Dr. Olawuyi was fatally attacked by a male lion named “Ton” after an oversight in safety protocols. Reports indicate that the lion’s enclosure door was mistakenly left open, leading to the devastating incident. Despite the heroic efforts of Dr. Olawuyi to save his assistant, the consequences were dire.
The NGO mourns the loss of this dedicated veterinary technologist and emphasizes the critical importance of stringent safety measures in wildlife conservation efforts.t. Sadly, Ton has since been put down.
Dr.Olawuyi, a veterinary technologist, had been taking care of the lions since they were born on campus about nine years ago. Wild at Life e.V. is in mourning & offering condolences to the family while paying tribute to Dr. Olawuyi as a good & humble man.
“The latest tragedy shows once again that safety measures are very important for conservation and rescue of wild animals. It is shocking to see such an unfortunate tragedy, a good & humble man losing his life. However, this incident wouldn’t in any way affect our NGO as conserving & rescuing wild animals. Fundraisers will help to improve safety measures & keep also remaining lions & other wild animals being conserved’’ said Asli Han Gedik, Wild at Life e.V. Founder & Chairman.

Wild at Life e.V. reiterates its warning that collective failure to act will continue to lead to tragic & fatal consequences. It is imperative to take action against criminals, smugglers & traffickers who prey on the most vulnerable. Wild at Life e.V. & partners continue to put fundraisers to actively engage wild animals who need help, raising awareness about the risks of victims to criminals responsible for their deadly survival challenge.



The Remaining Survivors of the Horror Zoo

In this picture, you can see the heartbreaking state they were in when we first found them—malnourished, weak, and suffering in terrible conditions. It was uncertain if they would even survive. But we refused to give up on these animals; we held onto hope with all our strength. Through dedicated care and unwavering support, they began to heal. Slowly but surely, they regained their strength and their will to live. Today, looking at them, we feel an overwhelming sense of pride and joy in their incredible recovery. It’s a testament to the resilience of these animals and the power of compassion and perseverance.

At this very moment, the lioness “Mirella” and the other 17 animals left on the premises need our help more urgently than ever before. Their future hangs in the balance, with each passing day becoming more critical. It’s a situation that would deeply sadden Dr. Olawuyi, who devoted his entire life to the care and wellbeing of these abandoned creatures. He would have wanted nothing more than to see them safe and thriving. Your immediate support is not just a lifeline; it’s a tribute to Dr. Olawuyi’s legacy and a beacon of hope for these animals who have already endured so much hardship. Join us in honoring his memory by ensuring that “Mirella” and her companions have the chance at a brighter tomorrow.

Down below you can see the before and after in direct comparison.

We are not seperating Ton and Mirella in the adoptions, because it would be wrong for them. Mirella is still alove and she needs angels to protect her.

Update: August 9, 2023

August Updates on Ton, Mirella, and friends

Update: July 20, 2023

Abandoned Nigerian Zoo – Published by OK

Check out this video by OK, showing the lions’ remarkable transformation!

Update: May 16, 2023

Abandoned Nigerian Zoo – Published by Heute

Heute shares the remarkable journey of the two lions in the abandoned zoo in Nigeria, showcasing their incredible transformation and the efforts taken to restore their well-being and quality of life. The article is in German.

Update: May 12, 2023

Abandoned Nigerian Zoo – Published by web.de

web.de reports on the transformation of the abandoned zoo animals in Nigeria brought forth by generous donations and the tireless dedication of Wild at Life e.V.. The article is in German.

Update: May 11, 2023

Abandoned Nigerian Zoo – Published by Blick

Blick unveils the transformation of the once-emaciated animals at an abandoned Nigeria zoo that took place in just two months. The article is in German.

Update: May 11, 2023

Abandoned Nigerian Zoo – Published by FOCUS

FOCUS presents an update on the remarkable transformation of the animals residing in a once-abandoned zoo in Nigeria ever since Wild at Life e.V.’s rescue efforts. The article is in German.

Update: May 11, 2023

Abandoned Nigerian Zoo – Published by OK

OK talked about the majestic lions finding solace in an outdoor enclosure, a testament to their remarkable recovery and the power of compassion. The article is in German.

Update: April 26, 2023

The Latest on Animals from the Abandoned Zoo in Nigeria

Thanks to your donations, we were able to supply food to all the zoo animals as well as pay the animal caretakers. In doing so, the two lions – who we have since named Ton and Mirella – are back up on their feet in just two months, roaming out of their concrete cage to the grassy outdoors as and when they please. The other animals such as Hanena the hyena have gotten stronger too. Furthermore, paying the ground team means that looters stay away from the zoo.

Here is a short video on how some of the animals are doing now:

Update: March 24, 2023

Progress of Lioness in Abandoned Zoo

We are so delighted to share the progress made by the lioness that was previously too weak to stand. She is now able to stand on all four and eat on her own!

Update: March 14, 2023

Abandoned Nigerian Zoo – Published by Stern

Stern made a video showing the horrible conditions of the zoo animals at the Nigerian zoo, where a lioness fell in its attempt to stand. The video and description are in German.

Update: March 13, 2023

Abandoned Nigerian Zoo – Published by Blick

With a video, Blick illustrates the appalling conditions of the abandoned Nigerian zoo and emphasized how donations are much needed to relieve their plight. The video is in German.

Update: March 11, 2023

Abandoned Nigerian Zoo – Published by t-online

Our rescue mission in Nigeria was covered by t-online. The video is in German.

Update: March 10, 2023

Abandoned Nigerian Zoo – Published by FOCUS

Wild at Life e.V.’s rescue mission was picked up by FOCUS. Please keep in mind that unlike what the article states, Wild at Life e.V. is based in Frankfurt, Germany. The video and article are in German.

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

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