The political turmoil in Egypt is not just taking a toll on people living through the country’s bloody violence; animals are also feeling the strain.
Giraffes, rhinos, elephants and deer are contemplating suicide, Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm reported this week, citing gunfire and protester chants as reasons behind the zoo animals’ alleged agony.
Cairo zoo psychologists told the newspaper what they believe to be the animals’ suicidal thoughts.
Recent protests have taken place close to the zoo, located in Giza, with staff saying that shots could be heard from inside.
The psychologists noted that animals have an acute sense of hearing, prompting the giraffes, elephants, deer and even bears, to bang into walls and fences surrounding their enclosure, which they believed to be attempts to self-harm.
The heightened sense of fear has even led to the animals crying, the psychologists said.
Earlier this month, Egyptian police broke up a Muslim Brotherhood sit-in near the zoo, making good on pledge to disperse thousands of Islamists protesters.
At one stage, state television reported that armed protesters were inside Cairo Zoo, near the Nahda protest camp, firing at police.
The violent military crackdowns have claimed 900 lives in the past week, according to official figures.