Amir Khalil is an Austro-Egyptian with a profession, unlike any other: war veterinarian. It is a true vocation, born during his childhood in Egypt. Amir Khalil began his veterinary studies at 17 in Cairo and continued in Vienna. He took part for the first time in a mission organized by the Austrian NGO Four Paws (four legs in French), an association for which he still works.
His first missions took him to various European countries, notably in Romania, where he had to disguise himself as a rich emir of the Gulf to make the nightclub owner believe that he wanted to buy back the four lions that the latter held—and mistreated. Ally, with the police, finally manages to save the beasts. Much remains to be done in Europe, according to Amir Khalil: “The situation may have improved for humans, but not for animals: there are no more brown bears, and many wild animals have already. faded away.” Four Paws also continues to intervene in certain European countries.
Saving animals in war-torn cities
After Europe, it is on war grounds that Amir Khalil will exercise his profession. He went in particular to Baghdad in 2003, the Iraqi capital than under the bombardments, to save the animals of the private zoo of Saddam Hussein. Of the 650, only 20 survived. Libya and the Gaza Strip will follow. More recently, in Mosul, Iraq, and Aleppo in Syria, two towns ravaged by the fighting, the veterinarian went, again to evacuate and treat animals from deserted zoos.
Dangerous missions, but Amir Khalil retains something else from these experiences. “When we find ourselves at a border, and we carry a large cage containing a lion, everyone puts their gun down and helps us carry. After that, they will continue to kill each other, but we see although wild animals help open the borders. ” The rescued animals are then transferred to several sanctuaries, notably in Jordan, South Africa, and the Netherlands.
Today, Amir Khalil warns about the loss of biodiversity in the world. Throughout his missions, he could only observe the damage caused by human action: “In places where animals have disappeared, nature has changed. We are changing the planet’s balance, and it is very dangerous because humans, animals, and nature are all important. We must be able to live together. If we cannot coexist, we are in danger. ” This is why, more than ever, Amir Khalil and Four Paws continue their missions. The next one should take place this year, again in the Middle East.