The Zoo of Horrors

Ever since I heard about a zoo called “Hadiqa Abu Jarrah” in Riyadh from a friend who told me how horrific the conditions of the animals kept there were, I’ve been wanting to go there to see for myself what the situation is. So when we finally got the chance to go, it became apparent that the zoo was much worse than I had imagined. I’ve actually never seen animals being treated so bad in my entire life, despite having lived in many developing countries where animals rights are the last thing on anyone’s mind.  I never saw anything even remotely comparable to this utter misery! And here we are in Saudi-Arabia, one of the richest countries in the world, a land where people are supposed to hold up to Islamic teachings.

Places like this zoo and the Muslims who are responsible for it might give some people the impression that Islam in fact, enforces torture and evil acts toward animals. In reality Islam teaches kindness toward all living beings including animals. There are numerous Hadith teaching good treatment and respect toward animals. Here is one which clearly indicates animal rights are an important issue in Islam and that punishment will follow for animal rights offenders:

“A lady was punished because of a cat which she had imprisoned till it died. She entered the (Hell) Fire because of it, for she neither gave it food nor water as she had imprisoned it, nor set it free to eat from the vermin of the earth.” (Bukhari Vol.4, Book 56, #689)

The five basic rights of animals according to Islam

The actual “zoo” which is in reality only a few small metal cages placed next to each other, is located inside the Fantasy Land amusement park on Thumamah Road. The animals have absolutely nothing inside the miserable dirty cages. The animals can see and hear each other at all times which will cause even more stress to them. There were many ill looking, poorly animals there as well. The cages are outside in a hall with no air-conditioning or heating. Most shockingly they had large animals such as a grizzly bear and adult lions in tiny cages. The animals are never let out of the cages and there is only one zoo keeper taking care of them all.


These animals are in urgent need of help! Seeing the the zoo in all its horror and the animals there looking like they lived in hell on earth made me extremely, extremely MAD. There are not many things in this world that upset me as much as mistreatment of animals, children and women. So I decided to write this post to spread awareness of the appalling conditions of the animals held at Hadiqa Abu Jarrah.


We can try and find a solution for these animals and all you readers out there can help to get these animals out of there to a safer and more humane environment. They will always be captive, but at least they deserve proper food, water and places to sleep in, places to walk and run around in, resting areas for peace and quiet and shelter from hot and cold. No living being should be imprisoned in this way and kept in inhumane conditions.


Read what YOU can do at the end of this post!!

The entrance to the zoo shows pictures of the owner “Abu Jarrah” posing next to these animals. From the images we get the impression the animals are there just to show them off. The rest of the time they are forgotten and maintained by a single zoo keeper who we talked to.
The man pictured owns these animals and apparently few years back he decided to set up this zoo and the animals were brought there and placed into the small torture cells for people to come look at for a fee of 20 SAR. Previously the animals had been on the mans farm. There was no information about where or how he had gotten most of these animals but there is clear indication most must have been brought into the country illegally.

According to the zookeeper, the owner has had this grizzly bear for 10 years. We were told it was smuggled in as a baby from the U.S. Wouldn’t that be an offence punishable by a jail sentence in the States, to smuggle out an endangered species? Saudi-Arabia does not have animal protection laws and the law banning trafficking of endangered animals is clearly not enforced whatsoever, which can be seen by going into any petshop in the Kingdom.

The tigers or the pumas in the pictures were currently not in the zoo. We were told by the zookeeper that the owner regularly takes some of the animals around the Kingdom to display them. The tigers are supposedly on display in Medinah at the moment.
Placing a huge wild animal such as a tiger in a 3x3m cage is utterly disgusting. Having them regularly transported in those cages all over the country is even more disturbing.

This is the male lion which looked like it needed immediate veterinarian attention when we saw it.

This is the owner’s son pictured inside the hyenas cage, WHILE the hyena is having its dinner. Hyenas are such peaceful, mindful eaters right?!! Anyone who ever watched hyena documentaries on National Geographic channel showcasing how these ferocious predators eat their food and react to potential threats to their meal would know just how foolish and potentially dangerous this actually is.

Back to the grizzly. This must be the world’s saddest, most depressed bear. He looks into the eyes of the visitor with such plea it is simply heart wrenching to watch.
The bear never in its entire life in Saudi Arabia got out of his prison cell, if you don’t count the photo sessions with “Abu Jarrah”. The zoo keeper was too afraid to even think of opening its cage in fear for his life. Grizzlies, like all bears in the wild roam around extensive areas, they actually quite active, they have social contacts with each other and they also hibernate. I doubt this bear ever had the chance to have any of those things.

I guess this informative sign speaks for itself about the expertise and knowledge of the wild animals kept there.

The zoo also has domestic dogs in one cage.

The sickly male lion didn’t have energy to move at all during our visit. When I stood in front of his cage, he didn’t even look up. My stomach turned from rage, how could any human do this to a living being?

The sign says “do not feed the animals”. The zoo keeper told us he feeds the animals every other day. Most of the more active hunting predators such as this coyote and hyenas were pacing around the cages endlessly in the same monotonous way, barking and howling and occasionally attacking or biting each other, probably from sheer stress.

The animals eat, sleep and eliminate in the same space. These two lionesses live in a cage about 4 x 5 metres in size.

A beautiful lioness dreaming of Africa perhaps..The man working there told us he had let some of the lions out to an area in the back of the zoo a few times. I pleaded him to let them out while we were there to show us this place. He told me absolutely no, because he once had a female reporter there and the lion had tried to attack her wounding her badly. The zookeeper said getting the lion back inside the cage is almost impossible, so that’s why he rarely even tries to take them out.
Here is a link to the news article of this very incident which happened to a female reporter named Asmahan Al-Ghamdi, a female editor working at the national Saudi newspaper, Al-Riyadh.

The man also showed me video footage from his phone which had a clip of one of the lions suddenly getting up and attacking the zookeepers friend from behind. He just barely manages to escape the attack.

The young lion seemed fond of his keeper, who talked to him and the lion came to greet him. At least it’s good to know the worker seems to be kind toward them and not abusive!

The zookeeper seemed to genuinely like the animals and his job is surely a tough one. After all, he is only doing his job with the means given to him. He tried to play with the bear but it was not interested and kept looking to the ground.

A few fans were placed here and there around the hall, no heaters or shelter from the weather. During Saudi winters the night time temperatures can drop near 0 Celcius (32F) and in the summer temperatures soar to the high 40s daily reaching up to 53C (127C). This places the animals in great risk of hypothermia or heat stroke and dehydration.

A baby monkey which was placed next to the bear looked pretty much frightened out of his mind and despite being locked up inside the cage had a rope tied to one of its legs.Here is a video clip I took when I visited the zoo. You can see the following animals: A grizzly, a lioness, a coyote, baboons, hedgehogs or porcupines, eagles and other birds, a male lion, domestic dogs, another fox or coyote, two more lions, hyenas and wild dogs, all placed in a small outdoor hall.

In the following clip  you can see the two hyenas, very agitated pacing around the cage as if they had gone mad.
This clip shows how the lion and bear are kept in tiny cages with nothing to do but pace around in a small circle.

The zoo of horrors has been haunting me. I contacted some groups I knew on FB that work for animal rights in KSA. Er7amni Animal Rights Group has now started helping these animals by sending some letters to the Ministry of Agriculture. We’ve been waiting for results but it seems no change has happened and the animals still remain in their misery. Something more needs to be done, so I decided to write this post and that is why I’m reaching out for YOUR help!

I’m sure many reading this are upset and know that animals just like humans can sense pain and even emotions such as boredom, excitement, joy, frustration and fear. The only thing animals can’t do is speak out and tell us. We need to give them our voices.
Certainly people out there like me are worried for the well-being of these poor animals and feel a deep sadness about their current state. The animals are the innocent victims of men who seek only money and fame from them.

No soul deserves such a fate.

PLEASE help these animals by doing one or all of the following:

1. Share this post with your friends inside and outside Saudi-Arabia
2. Sign this petition:
Then share it!
3.Write an email to the following addresses telling them about the zoo and cruel treatment of animals there:
National Wildlife Conservation, Mohammed Malki:

4. Send a letter addressed to Dr. Fahad Balghonaim Ministry of Agriculture, P.O Box 2639, Riyadh 11195, Saudi-Arabia. Tel 401-2777
You can use the photos from this post and explain how you are worried about the animals in this zoo and wish to see them relocated to a better and safer place.
Some useful links about protection of animal rights in the Kingdom:
Sign also this petition asking for laws to be set up to stop animal cruelty in KSA: Society for the Protection of Endangered Animals in Saudi-Arabia:
Facebook Group “Saudi Society for the Mercy of Animals”
Er7amni Animal Rights group in Saudi webpage:
OpenPaws organization helping animals in Riyadh:

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Hello there, I’m Laura, the founder, author and manager of Blue Abaya, the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia established in 2010.  Travel has always been my passion- so far I’ve visited 69 countries and I’m always on the lookout for new adventures inside and outside of Saudi Arabia! Having visited all corners of the Kingdom with over a decade of experience, I have a vast knowledge base about travel and tourism in Saudi Arabia.

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  • I'm FarsillaJune 4, 2012 - 1:01 am

    omg!!!!! i feel like crying look at those animals. especially the baby monkey n the sick lion. someone should do sumthing about this!!!


  • AnonymousJune 4, 2012 - 2:41 am

    Salam aleikum Laylah!

    Ihan itkettää:(

    This is indeed the worst of zoos I’ve ever seen.Im very happy to see you to take actions against such cruelty towards animals.

    Is very sad to see the owner of the zoo passing on his “legacy” to his son,showing him how animals are omake reared to make your ego bigger.Nice to take a picture with one,posted on Facebook and then lock the animal back to its cage to literally bore to death.

    I took 2min of my time to post this link on my Facebook and I hope your other readers will do the same.With more people being aware if this,InchAllah these animals may have some hope of a better future.

    Btw,the last email address doesn’t work.

    May Allah see your good heart



    • LaylahJune 4, 2012 - 7:44 pm

      Heippa Eman!
      Yes the owner is indeed pasing a horrible legacy, what the boy learns now will be ingrained in his mind as right way to treat animals..
      Thanks for sharing, hope others will too!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 4, 2012 - 3:29 am

    OMG! when i watched the video of u walking into the zoo it looked like some freaky torture chamber, so cold and lifeless and its as if the animals are there to die not to live.. and even freakier then that the video of the 2 hyenas was just unbearable to watch…i think it would be better to just kill them then for them to live in that hell hole. Something is terribly wrong. Great work in bringing it to public knowledge.

    • LaylahJune 4, 2012 - 7:45 pm

      Freaky torture chamber is a very accurate description, that’s exactly how it felt like..ReplyCancel

  • Coolred38June 4, 2012 - 6:58 am

    (paraphrasing) You can judge the character of a nation by how it treats its animals.

    Personally I have never seen human beings mistreat animals as I did when I lived in the middle east. From little kids up to adults there seemed to be no collective concious of empathy/sympathy towards animals (a generalization in some regards but not by much). Yes there are the individuals who love their pets or animals in general and treat them well but too few and too little is done for the well being of animals in that area.

    I hope your campaign does something to ensure the safe future for those zoo animals…as they do not have voices and need yours and anyone else’s that cares to speak for them.ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousJune 4, 2012 - 9:04 am

      @Coolred38…there is animal cruelty everywhere..have u visited every part of the world to know that you have “never seen human beings mistreat animals as when in middle east”..what about the romanian dancing bears? what about indonesian? what about your perfect country america where they abuse animals that are used in porn that not the worst thing u can do to an animal ?
      Its terrible whats happening in saudi but your generalised statements are getting old..

    • AnonymousJune 4, 2012 - 12:53 pm


      I think what CoolRed meant by using this age old saying was,the general attitude towards the animals.

      As a person who has seen loads of different cultures and countries,I can say animals being treated in Western and some Asian countries, like Thailand,better than anywhere else.

      This is because their culture really values the life of these creatures and already the basic ideology of these places is equality to everyone,including animals.

      In Middle Eastern countries equality doesn’t apply to people so we cannot assume it to be served towards animals.Sad but true.

      I’m aware of cruelty facing animals even in these Western societies but it’s not publicly accepted.Thats kinda the point here.No one is going to print in the news paper that “Hi,my name us Mike,I’m going to publish a animal porn movie.Please bring your kids to watch it at the nearest cinema.”This would be totally lashed and Mr.Mike would face criminal charges.

      This guy here,the owner of the zoo,IS doing his crime against living beings completely openly and even charges people to come and see it!Dont you think that it says something about Saudies that this can go on for years without anyone doing anything about it?

      Every country battles with their own problems and not accepting that we might have a problem here,is not going to make it go away.

      Instead of being offended by some blog comment,you should indeed be offended by Mr.Abu Jarrah,who paints this image about Arabs to the rest of the world.



    • LaylahJune 4, 2012 - 7:48 pm

      Thank you Coolred I hope so too.
      You’re right that there doesn’t seem to be enough of those people here who really do love animals and care enough about them to act.ReplyCancel

    • GeoffJune 5, 2012 - 8:29 pm

      @Anonomous. Your reply is offensive to the point of being idiotic. The author Coolred38 never states that they have been everywhere or that the Middle east is even the worst, they simply state that the worst he saw was when he was in the middle east. I happen to agree with him and I’ve been a few places myself. Maybe I’ll find worse somewhere else, but as of yet, this is the worst. I’ve stopped men from throwing rocks at dogs here multiple times. Apparently you’re into sick porn as well, the type that is illegal in America and is smuggled in. No where in the world is perfect in any regard, let alone this one, so if I have given you the impression that America is, please forgive me, but we at least have strict laws regarding this type of cruelty and although some people do get away with it, such a blatant case as this would immediately result in fines, seizure of the animals and most likely prison time.ReplyCancel

  • BoxieJune 4, 2012 - 4:29 am

    My God this is horrendous… I have never seen something so bad. I thought I had, but my God. Inshallah some help will come to these poor animals and they will have better conditions soon. Why are so many Zoo’z in “Muslim” countries so bad. Its a complete contradiction to Islam and everything Islam teaches.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 4, 2012 - 7:46 pm

      Boxie yes a complete contradiction, so strange to find it here and above all strange is that there are no laws against it, in a country based on Shariah.ReplyCancel

  • NoorJune 4, 2012 - 9:32 am

    Haram I am in tears right now your so right this country is so cruel to animals and I have talked about it so many times that a country this rich and how Muslims should treat animals its just disgusting what is allowed. If they cared about animals half as much as they wanted to hate women it would be better. I want to put them in cages that poor little monkey OMG this country may Allah not forget them Ameen.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 4, 2012 - 7:51 pm

      Noor believe me I share your thought about putting the violators in those cages and let them try it out for a while. Might change their attitudes..or then not! Sick people are just sick and will never change. Unfortunately those kind of people exist all around the world, with sadistic tendencies..they are the worst animal abusers.ReplyCancel

  • NoorJune 4, 2012 - 9:35 am

    Laylah even at Salam Park they are so cruel to the horses they make them walk in circles ALL DAY with no food or water in the heat, lets not forget in the desert or the horrid pet stores. :( My son is even sad now looking at that little monkey. I am so upset over this haram..ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 4, 2012 - 9:58 am

    Taif zoo was horrible as well- just a little bit better than the one here. The cages were small and stink.

    People here are not aware of animal rights. We are used to seeing kids throwing pebbles at stray cats.

    Perhaps this issue should be raised to the King himself. There has to be a strong association for the protection of animals in this country. Then there would be laws such as cage sizes,etc…ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 4, 2012 - 7:55 pm

      Have not been to Taif zoo but have heard rumors about how horrible it is. Don’t they have a bear in there too?

      How the country is based on Shariah and yet how these sort of things go on with no consequences is just an equation I will never understand.

      Good idea about the King, but who will go to him? Lil ol’ me in my blue abaya lolReplyCancel

    • totusiJune 5, 2012 - 8:43 am

      Taif was my first contact with animal mistreat in Saudi. Not the zoo, I didn’t have the courage to step in, but the souq, the big tent. They were selling chicken poults, all colors, pink, blue, green…What kind of sick mind takes one day poults to bath them in paint??? They were also selling cats, keeping them in cages, so small that the bars were stuck to the pets’ bodies, the tails were dangling outside. A nightmare!

      I still believe there is a mentality issue, people here are not “old” enough to understand…

  • Umm GamarJune 4, 2012 - 10:35 am

    Its terrible how they mistreat the animals.thx for bringing this to light.although the comment on how animals are mistreated only in middle east is Asia,cockfights are ongoing,dogfights in USA,how about the Spanish bullfights.

    • LaylahJune 4, 2012 - 7:57 pm

      Animal cruelty does go on all around the world but I guess the point was more about how there are no laws against it in a rich, seemingly civilized and Islamic country such as Saudi-Arabia is..because it’s simply not seen as an issue worth the time here.ReplyCancel

  • totusiJune 4, 2012 - 11:22 am

    Regarding the Romanian bears, you have to update. Please look here

    The difference between Romanian/America and Saudi is that, here (in Saudi), most of them are not even aware of how cruel they are with animals. They don’t question themselves, they find that normal, I have seen so many times parents simply laughing, proud of their children while they were torturing cats or dogs. This is not normal in Romania, or America. Here, it is.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 4, 2012 - 7:59 pm

      totusi-I have seen this too and quite frankly it disgusts me, when I see parents allowing their children to tease/torture/KILL animals for fun.
      For me it’s totally incomprehensible how anyone could see it as OK or even fun.ReplyCancel

  • YazzieJune 4, 2012 - 11:49 am

    Riyad Zoo in Malaz sucks as well! I will never take my kids there again. The animals there are in a little(just barely) better condition than the ones shown here. Some visitors feed the animals all kinds of crap(popcorn, cotton candy,COFFEE!) while ignoring the signs(in English and Arabic) which say “DO NOT FEED THE FREAKING ANIMALS!”(I wish) in full view of the handlers. The bear at Riyadh Zoo in Malaz has also given up on life. He just laid on the ground with his arms and legs outstretched. So sad. YA Allah…ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 4, 2012 - 8:03 pm

      Yazzie-Riyadh zoo needs lots of improvement, but compared to Abu JArrah seems like paradise for animals!I have seen the people feeding all sort of crap to animals there as well, next to the guards, went to talk to them and they looked at me like I just dropped off the moon.

      Guess what, the guards and zookeepers were also feeding the animals (popcorn, chips, ice cream). I took lots of pics, for another post :)
      We had a long discussion with them but it ended up in the zookeeper loosing it and the guard laughing it off and not taking it seriously, although we tried to remind him that he is the one responsible for those animals, and will be held accountable some day.ReplyCancel

  • Rana RazaJune 4, 2012 - 5:43 pm

    Lyla did you say anything to the zoo ‘manager’ ?? this is APPAULING!!!! I am so angry right now..

    x Rana xReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 4, 2012 - 8:04 pm

      Rana there was no manager present, just that one man..ReplyCancel

  • greatcatsoftheworldJune 5, 2012 - 2:52 am

    Sharing this as far and wide as I can. If you have any new updates please contact me through my wordpress blog.. This place needs to be shut down and the animals rescued!!! This is the most horrid place !ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 6, 2012 - 7:53 am

      thank you for spreading the word!ReplyCancel

  • Coolred38June 5, 2012 - 3:15 am

    Rabiya…I did use the word “personally” which means where I personally have travelled, lived, experienced the culture etc. Please read with comprehension. Also, I have left possibly 3 comments on this blog (maybe just 2, not sure) so for you to command me to “stop with the generalized statements” is just ridiculous…and I did say it was a generalization but not by much. I also did not say that America or anywhere else was free from animal abuse…I said I had never seen worse then in the middle east. If that opinion doesn’t sit well with you than you are free to express your own…but that is my opinion and I stand by it.

    Laylah…your “reply” button doesn’t work (for me anyhow) so I have to leave this reply all the way at the bottom.ReplyCancel

  • I'm FarsillaJune 5, 2012 - 7:13 am

    Laylah, i just watched the video that u took. wallah this is not a zoo! its just cages!! i wish someone do sumthing for these poor animals


    • LaylahJune 6, 2012 - 11:34 pm

      I hope we are reaching out to the right people, keep sharing the post and eventually it will reach the them!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 5, 2012 - 4:51 am

    I would love to see Abu Jarrah locked up in that poor lions cage and eaten…that what he deserves..the neglects and abuse is has nothing to do with sharia or islam because islam has given animals its rights but it has everything to do with a country who doesn’t look after their poor citizens let alone animals. You cannot even call it a zoo its like a freak show that the only thing it looks like..where is the least try to make it look appealing..nothing not even an ounce of effort for these poor living creatures. arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    • LaylahJune 6, 2012 - 7:55 am

      Umm Lujain-yes he should have a taste o his own medicine so to say..ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 5, 2012 - 8:27 am

    Poor Animals…they looked really unhappy!!! that is not zoo indeed..its more of an animal show!!! that Abu Jarrah needs to be accountable..he is making money out of this poor animals and not even taking care of them properly. My heart goes out to this poor creatures…So sad even looking at them pics.
    Umm MansourReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 7, 2012 - 12:12 am

      Umm Mansour I share your concern, thanks for the comment!ReplyCancel

  • bigstick1June 6, 2012 - 12:00 am


    I second your thoughts on the comment to Coolred38. In the US they do have strict laws on animals and numerous watch groups, many with a great deal of power and media attention, think PETA. Next, if the porn industry abuses animals in the USA they would be fined as well as the porn industry is for the most part heavily regulated at least the porn that is which is legally made anyway. Therefore the question is what kind of underground porn have you located and why?

    Next, this is about a zoo and somehow Riybya has gone from this point to porn. Very telling.

    Laylah, I too cannot reply under the comments and I have tried numerous tactics. Not sure why, so I will post at the bottom as I don’t have much of a choice.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 7, 2012 - 12:14 am

      bigstick I’m trying to resolve the problem but it looks like it works for some and not others o could it be a browser issue?ReplyCancel

  • safJune 6, 2012 - 7:18 am

    Another way not to promote is is NOT to enter the “zoo”. After seeing the plight of the animals I totally regretted paying 20 riyals to see this cruelty!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 7, 2012 - 12:14 am

      you went there too saf? When was this?ReplyCancel

    • FarooqJune 7, 2012 - 6:00 am

      If I am guessing correctly, that would be last year or thereabouts. I know coz I was with her. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Lady CarrotJune 6, 2012 - 1:09 pm

    No for ZOO,no for CIRCUSES, no for animal abuse!!!!!!!! is it going to finish some day….? heartbreaking post….poor animals, its showing how muslims abuse them despite of Allah subhana wa taala words…SHAME FOR KSA!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 7, 2012 - 12:17 am

      Lady carrot-true that this is a real shame for Saudi-Arabia!
      I wish more Saudis would take action. I tried to contact many Saudis with large followings on twitter to help spread the word, but nobody would retweet for the plight of these animals. It makes me really sad..ReplyCancel

  • DianneJune 7, 2012 - 3:52 am

    I’m an animal lover and cannot bear to see animals treated this way. I understand that KSA has a lot of land to offer, so why not give these poor animals bigger place to live (like in a real zoo). Also, if you’re a rich person living in a rich country and can afford to establish a zoo, why not hire a Veterinarian for these animals and hire professional zoo keepers?

    I couldn’t even stomach to see my pets sick and begging for food, so this really made me sick to my stomach, sad, and angry. I hope the authorities would take action about this matter. They should put themselves into the animal’s position…what if they were treated this way? I guess it’s ok.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 8, 2012 - 11:45 pm

      Hi Dianne thanks for the comment. You’re right they surely do have the money and there’s land too, at least desert land :) but they(or the owner) would surely have the means to provide a green open area to each of these animals, if they so wanted.ReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarJune 7, 2012 - 4:48 am

    Muslims should read this and be reminded of animal rights.ReplyCancel

  • Coolred38June 8, 2012 - 3:51 am

    Umm Gamar (sorry but I can’t reply under your comment)….pointing out that “other countries do it too” is hardly an effective argument. In the words of my mother…if your friends jumped off a bridge…would you do it too? You posted a link to the rights of animals under islam…a lot of good that does for those reading this posts are they are most likely not abusing animals. I suggest you print out that piece and go nail it up on that guys poor excuse for a zoo’s wall. Might be more effective.ReplyCancel

    • Umm GamarJune 9, 2012 - 3:34 am

      That is a good idea. i ll pin it up the next time i visit my husband’s family in KSA. but for now, it is a bit far from where i am (another country).Concerning my earlier comment, if you read my first sentence, you would see that i highly disliked the action of animal cruelty. and suggesting “other countries do it too” as you crudely put was hardly my way of “supporting” such inhumane act. I was merely pointing out that unfortunately, this happens in other parts of the world.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 8, 2012 - 1:20 am

    The Wildlife Commission should be contacted and a human public health hazard from the ill animals should be emphasized—with the hope to get the ill and abused animals into a better care situation. If the animals are a ‘public health’ problem they could hopefully be removed from ‘private zoos’and from public view and cared for by more responsible entities–the Riyadh Zoo (the real one) has been known to accept animals such as these you saw. You have a kind heart to help God’s creatures.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 8, 2012 - 11:48 pm

      The thing is I’m afraid the man will be able to keep them if he claims they are his private property, and will just move them elsewhere. that is if no one with authority will come and “confiscate” all the animals. He is breaking many Saudi laws, but they are not enforced here. If “Abu JArrah” has the right wasta, he will be able to get away with this with no trouble. That’s why we need international coverage, to make this an embarrassment to Saudi-Arabia and the authorities will be forced to intervene.ReplyCancel

  • HudaJune 8, 2012 - 3:24 am

    The hyenas look like they have literally lost the plot. The video was painful to watch. I showed it to some people in my family they were so upset too. Gonna spread the message and write to those people inshaAllah.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 8, 2012 - 11:43 pm

      Thank you Huda. Watching those hyenas was like watching a horror movie, they would just do it like robots over and over and over.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 11, 2012 - 2:28 pm

    Great sad though, may Allah help them.
    Have you been to the riyadh zoo? Seen the poor birds with their wings cut off..and the bear there. Just terrible, like a poor country!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 21, 2012 - 8:18 pm

      Yes I’ve been to the Riyadh zoo, can’t say it’s ideal but MUCH better than where they are now.ReplyCancel

  • Lady CarrotJune 13, 2012 - 5:44 pm

    Lailah, do you have any news on this case? if yes please post themReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 21, 2012 - 8:17 pm

      Lady Carrot-sorry for late response, been busy and traveled to Finland this week,
      I have given some interviews on the zoo and will be writing an update post soon!ReplyCancel

  • Bitchin BeautyJune 16, 2012 - 8:46 pm

    This is common in every Indonesian zoo I’ve seen. The conditions of the animals is appalling. Yet nobody cares. It’s been going on for many years. And Indonesia is a primarily Muslim country with a Muslim majority/exclusive government.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 20, 2012 - 12:40 pm


  • AnonymousJune 20, 2012 - 5:57 pm

    Are there any updates on this?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 21, 2012 - 8:14 pm

      I will update you very soon!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 21, 2012 - 6:51 am

    This is an horrible situation!! Shame on them!

    And be careful with you, they are a bit "different" in your new country: i hope you will not have any trouble (prison).

    Be brave!


    • LaylahJune 21, 2012 - 8:15 pm

      Caroline-thank you, I know what you mean :)ReplyCancel

  • CharlotteJune 21, 2012 - 12:35 pm

    I put a link on my blog: people are very horrified by this situation and they will sign the petition!

    Here is the link on my blog:

    My blog is mainly about royalties but sometimes i publish different articles.

    You will find there a link to an article of Paris-Marich as well.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 21, 2012 - 8:16 pm

      Charlotte-Thanks for linking and signing the petition!
      There are already over 3000 signatures!ReplyCancel

  • SissiJune 24, 2012 - 4:46 pm

    Hi Laylah!
    I have been living in Bahrain for a couple of years, i love this country and I had also the chance to travel to Saudi. I discovered your blog and enjoy so much reading it.
    Today I saw an interview on France 24 of Laylah leaving in Riyadh and testifying what is happening in this zoo, hope she will succeed in her mission.
    Keep the good work ^^ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJuly 9, 2012 - 1:01 pm

      Sissi-thanks, I almost didn’t do the TV interview because I’m so shy, but my husband insisted and said I should do everything possible to help those animals ;0ReplyCancel

  • nassimaJune 27, 2012 - 12:39 pm

    this afternoon I saw your interview on France 24 : Leïla who lives in Riyadh saudi arabia and testifies what it happen in the abou jarra zoo , I really hop you all the best.ReplyCancel

  • jessicaJuly 11, 2012 - 3:23 pm

    I did the petition and plan on writing, this not only saddened and outraged me but sickened me as well. Is there a place to do donations towards the animals such as food or more fans or bigger cages???ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJuly 20, 2012 - 7:37 am

    La cruauté envers les animaux est partout où il y a des individus qui jouissent de la misère d’autrui…..ces gens sont capables d’infliger les mêmes sévices aux humains…je prie pour que l’on arrive grâce à la chaîne de solidarité à libérer ces pauvres esclaves… serait tellement facile pour ce pays de redorer son image en faisant de son zoo un modèle exemplaire… rien n’est fait alors j’aurais honte d’appartenir à l’espèce humaine……battons nous pour ces animaux donnons leur notre voix…..PatReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 27, 2012 - 2:42 pm

    salam alaykoum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh laylah

    Do you speak french?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 4, 2012 - 9:28 pm

      wa aleikum salaam, no I don't but I wish I did! I only speak swedish and some german!ReplyCancel

  • AnimalLover111April 29, 2013 - 1:54 pm

    Hello, Good day to you all.
    I would liek to know the latest news of this zoo.
    Could you share info.

  • LaylaApril 29, 2013 - 10:31 pm

    Latest news is that the zoo has been closed and animals relocated! thanks for the concern.ReplyCancel

    • LauraSeptember 12, 2013 - 11:59 am

      Is it true that the zoo is now closed? Thank you for your hard work to help make this happen, hopefully now the animals are in a better place?ReplyCancel

      • LaylaSeptember 17, 2013 - 1:02 am

        well, this is what the latest I heard of it, directly from the Arab news reporter.
        However, (funny how you just happened to ask this question now) I just was informed of a ‘zoo’ in al Baha, I saw the pics and chills went down my spine..the cages looked exactly the same..the animals were completely miserable, there are lions, tigers hyenas, a bear…sounds familiar doesn’t it??? I am now trying to figure out how to find out.ReplyCancel

        • LyndseyNovember 10, 2013 - 6:31 am

          I adore all animals and this post was truly gut-wrenching <3 It breaks my heart to see this… Inshallah the authorities or animals rights will follow up with the "new" zoo…. Thank you Layla for opening our eyes to the things rarely seen inside the Kingdom – good and bad…because there are also many beautiful things that you post :)


  • Horror Zoo Update- Saudi Contempt For Animals » Blue AbayaAugust 19, 2014 - 4:49 am

    […] The Zoo of Horrors in Riyadh is proof that this statement is not always true. Read my original post on the atrocities and torture of animals that goes on at “Hadiqa Abu Jarrah” in Fantasy Land Riyadh here. […]ReplyCancel

  • Arshaaq Ali AyyubiOctober 22, 2015 - 2:47 pm


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