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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 July, 2004, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
Saddam family lions have new home
Lion caretaker Jaffar Thahab welcomes Uday Hussein's lions to Baghdad zoo
The zoo staff were pleased to see their new arrivals
A group of lions reared by Saddam Hussein's son Uday has been removed from one of his former Baghdad palaces and taken to the capital's zoo.

Three adults and six cubs, which were born during the war last year, were transferred by US soldiers across the Iraqi capital to their new home.

A vet at Baghdad zoo said the animals were in very good health.

The zoo was reopened a year ago after being badly damaged during the US bombardment of Baghdad.

The zoo was once the largest in the Middle East, but by the end of the war only 80 animals were left alive.

Under the management of Brendan Whittington-Jones, that has gradually increased to more than 100.

US soldiers help move Uday Hussein's lions to Baghdad zoo
US soldiers helped move the anaesthetised lions
He was delighted to welcome the new arrivals.

"These nine lions have been left a at palace that belonged to Uday before the war," he said.

The lions have been moved to an area of the zoo where they can be managed properly and receive daily attention, Mr Whittington-Jones said.

Zoo vet Wassem Saleh Amin said "their health is very, very good. We take care of them and every day we are responsible for feeding them".

He said they had been taking meat to the presidential palace every day to build up the animals' strength before the move.

The BBC's Caroline Hawley
"The lions survived the war, but were in a sorry state"


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