Gaza donkeys get dye-job

2009-10-08 22:17
<strong>NEW ROLE:</strong> Palestinian children visiting the Marah Land Zoo outside Gaza City look at a donkey painted in a zebra-like pattern. (Hatem Moussa, AP)

NEW ROLE: Palestinian children visiting the Marah Land Zoo outside Gaza City look at a donkey painted in a zebra-like pattern. (Hatem Moussa, AP)

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Gaza - Two white donkeys dyed with black stripes delighted Palestinian kids - who had never seen a zebra in the flesh - at a small Gaza zoo on Friday.

With their long ears, drooping heads and sleepy eyes, the impostors probably would not have fooled a lioness. But the effect achieved by the zoo owners' dye-job doesn't look so bad - to the unpractised eye, and from a distance.

On closer inspection it resembles the classic striped convict suit of cartoon strips.

Nidal Barghouthi, whose father owns the Marah Land zoo, said the two female donkeys were striped using masking tape and women's hair dye, applied with a paint-brush.

"The first time we used paint but it didn't look good," he said. "The children don't know so they call them zebras and they are happy to see something new."

A genuine zebra would have been too expensive to bring into Israel-blockaded Gaza via smuggling tunnels under the border with Egypt, said owner Mohammed Bargouthi. "It would have cost me $40 000 to get a real one."

Gaza's Palestinians are impoverished by their isolation under an Israeli embargo against its Islamist Hamas rulers, who refuse to give up armed resistance against the Jewish state.

Bargouthi's zoo charged an entrance fee of just $15 for a full busload of children.

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