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Israelis Helping Save Animals in Flood-Ravaged Tbilisi

An Israeli team of veterinarians has landed in the nation of Georgia, as fatal flooding earlier this week has left at least 15 people dead.

The city’s zoo animals have become a major problem in the ravaged area, with few resources available at the moment to perform the necessary search and rescue to recoup the animals and save their lives.

The Israeli team is led by Dr. Nili Avni-Magen of Jerusalem’s famed Biblical Zoo, as well as Dr. Yigal Horovitz from the renowned Ramat Gan Safari. The team aims to rescue and treat the estimated 300 animals that are left without shelter or help. That same number of animals, birds and fish are said to have already died.

The Israelis brought antibiotics, sedatives and medications for the rescue mission, after Georgia’s Vere River in the city of Tbilisi experience flash flooding Sunday following a torrential downpour.

While some of the animals have already been accounted for, at least two tigers, a bear and a jackal are said to still be on the loose.

“Everything has been done to save as many animals as possible,” said Tbilisi Zoo director Zurab Gurielidze. “Special forces only opened fire at the animals –- such as tigers and lions –- that posed a threat to humans.”

Gurielidze and his wife reportedly almost died themselves while attempting to rescue as many animals as possible.