The zoo in eastern Mosul was once home to a multitude of animals including four lions, but under Islamic State (Isis) rule and the fight to expel them, the zoo's inhabitants died of starvation or were killed off. Now the only animals left alive are one sad lion and an emaciated bear. A team of vets from the international animal charity Four Paws has visited the former zoo, feeding the emaciated animals and giving them medical treatment.

Nour Park, the location of the zoo, was turned into a staging ground for Isis militants. The park's owner, Abu Omar, told Reuters there was a guard who used to feed the animal, but this stopped during the battle, which raged for three or four months. As a result, animals were killed, died of starvation and escaped. A shell hit a cage during the fighting, allowing monkeys to escape and wreak havoc.

People living nearby said they had been bringing leftovers to animals, but they didn't have enough as many people struggled to find food of their own, and when the fighting was at its fiercest people couldn't leave their homes.

The park, also filled with colourful children's rides, sits in the eastern half of the city that has recently been retaken by Iraqi forces. Unexploded bombs were still strewn around the park, which continues to be a place where neighbourhood children play.