.  March 24, case:  Lion Cub - Wadi El Natroun


March 24, 2009
At 3:00pm Mona Khalil (ESMA) receives a call from Riham (tour leader and volunteer of AWAR group) stating that she has a group of tourists (Spanish), on their way to Alexandria they stopped at Omar's village, Cairo Alex Road for snacks, only to see a photographer 17 years holding a cub (lion), starving, dehydrating, completely sick condition, the photographer insists that people and children take photos with the cub for few dollars.. Riham's tourist group felt appalled and would not leave until a solution is found to this poor lion cub.
Riham called Mona Khalil, Mona Khalil called Dina Zulfikar. They discussed the matter and decided (line open) to make all necessary calls to save this cub.
Fist calling the environmental police, the major in charge (the one we know) was on a mission, and said he would deal with this matter next day.
In parallel another call was made to Dr. Ragi Thoma, Manager of CITES Egypt and Wildlife, Dr. Ragi said he had been following previous complaints (some by us already since months) and matter is completely in the hands of Environmental Police, concerned with confiscation.
In parallel, a call was made to tourist police (127), line is temporary out of order, (remained out of order until night, until now 10:30pm night line is temporary out of order).
In parallel a call was made to the owners of Omar's Oasis, we were informed again that the cub does not belong to Omar's Oasis, however, thankfully, we asked the wife of the owner to proceed talking to the manager in the Omar's Oasis and to warn him to take this photographer out.
We decided to go ahead and call police (122) general police number, we stated that we are unable to reach the tourist police, their number is not working, the operator inquired, we told him please deliver our message to the Minister of Interior, the tourist police hotline is not working, we have a complaint. The operator inquired further.. we told him all. In five minutes this happened:
Dina received a call from Mr. Mamdouh, manager of Omar's Oasis, pleading and begging to withdraw the complaint as he will lose his job, Dina told him, why worry if this cub does not belong to the place.. he kept begging,
On the other line same time, Dina received call from 122 police emergency stating that police unit of Beheira governorate (the nearest to the location) is seconds from the Omar's Oasis.
Again to the line opened with Mr. Mamdouh the manager of Omar's Oasis, Dina told Mamdouh that police is on the way
Mona Khalil on the third line (kept opened) told Dina that the Manager will let go the photographer , Mona said she will keep the manager on phone with her in order not to warn the photographer to leave.
The police unit of Beheira governorate arrives and arrests the photographer, 17 years old and the cub.
Both Mona and Dina call Dr. Ragi Thoma to inform him of the action taken. Dr. Ragi provides the contact of General Osama, Vice general director of Egypt
’s environmental Police.
Call made to General Osama, who acts promptly, arrange with Dr. Ragi to pick up the lion cub from Beheira Police station, arrangements made sending a vet from the zoo and a car. The cub hopefully would arrive to either Giza or Alex Zoo by tomorrow, to be treated and according to laws and convention confiscated animals are handed to the zoo.
All contacts of all parties are available.

Thank you to:
The Police of Egypt Emergency (122 hotline)
The Police Unit of Beheira Governorate
Miss. Rania the tour leader for taking initiative and positive action of reporting.
The Spanish tourists who decided to escalate the matters and take positive action
Mrs. Amar, the wife of the owner of Omar's Oasis for taking necessary action
Dr. Ragi Thoma CITES Egypt
Vice General Osama, Vice general director of Egypt’s environmental Police.
Wonderful coalition of ESMA and AWAR.


We are getting involved, first round clash started, we are following raising the matter with Ahram newspaper Al Masry, Ministry of Culture media center Mr. Ahmed Salah, Environmental Police vice President General Osama, Mr. Khaled Salah in charge of circus unit Ministry of Culture, proceedures are taken to take Helw family to court.

Inquiring about the lion cub today, we found that the vet and vehicle sent by CITES Egypt was unable to find the lion cub at the Wadi El Natroun police unit of Beheira governorate.
Further inquiring:
Wrong protocol was taken by the In charge manager of the Police Unit of Wadi El Natroun
The lion cub, and the boy, 18 years old were released, the cub was handed to Mamdouh El Helw, lion trainer and owner of the Circus of Agouza, National Circus.
Currently Environmental police, vice director General Osama is filing charges against the Helw family, according to CITES, and environmental police, the HELW family has no right is displaying cubs or animals, according to clause 28, article 4, for year 1994, they have no permission from the environmental authority or the CITES Egypt.
police file:
755 Wadi El Natroun, 2009. Date 24, March 2009.

Dina Zulfikar

Update 26 March 8:45pm

Received call from environmental police, cub delivered now to Giza Zoo.

The cub was delivered today to Giza Zoo at 8:45pm, in horrible condition. I was told from Envir. police that there was a misunderstanding the cub was delivered to the three boys now arrested and not HELW family.
When I inquired about the cub health condition in Giza Zoo, they said in horrible state, broken back, broken tail, teath, suffering, hemorage in head, they had to put the cub to sleep humanely.

I found out that Anouchka, a french woman who has a welfare org. in the zoo, at the same time.. how did she know, she said the brother of Hussein arrested told her.
Where does Hussein live?
In Shabramant, Ezba village coffeeshop..
How did you know this cub is the cub confiscated?
from the brother of Hussein, I knew about this cub and 5 others in Ezba village in Shabramant, Ezba coffeeshop.


One of many cases in hotels, restaurants, zoos and various

On 24/03/2009 compassionate travelers contacted us to inform and provide details about the exploitation they have seen, which spoiled their holiday.  A police report was filed (755) and as a result the lion cub was confiscated and delivered to Giza Zoo.  The medical examination by Dr. Refaat Abd Elhaseib revealed the intolerable suffering of the lion cub which died as result in less than a week.

The real price of souvenir photographs






The medical report:  Intolerable abuse

malnourished and close to death

all claws pulled out

front right forelimb broken

fracture spinal column

torsion trachea 

internal hemorrhage in chest and abdomen


Press Covering the case, campaign in newspapers



Today April 8, campaign continues in press:

Wafd newspaper publishes answer back to Dina's accusations which were published 2 days ago.  Answer back from:  Faten El Helw, Mohamed El Helw and Lupa El Helw


Al Mosawer magazine published pictures of lion cub confiscated on the 24th March, delivered to zoo on the 26th, struggling life.. in poor state.


Wafd newspaper reads:  (quick translation)



After Accusations filed by coordinator of Animal Welfare Group:

Faten El Helw:  Egypt's Reputation is not the property of any


After publishing the accusations by Dina Zulfikar, coordinator of AW group in Egypt, against Helw Family, accusing some of them of smuggling lions and wildlife, and accusing them of not having permits from Ministry of Environment to make the show of lions in circus.

Faten El Helw, Lion trainer in the circus answers the allegations of Dina about legality of renewing lease of circus to Helw Family, and Dina's words that the European circus is just a way out to find permits to Russians who are unoccupied, and the incident of a Sudanese woman injured by a lion while she was taking photographs with in the circus..

Faten stated:  All those allegations are lies, bad faith , no one has proof of, the circus land is owned by Cultural Section of theatre performance, and is not rented to Helw or other failies , in cases of running the circus in cooperation during July and August, this deal is made through a tender, which guarantees income and profit for the circus all year round.

About alleged accusation from the lady whom her name is mentioned above, I address her to make searches and be precise, the Russian circus is on top in the world in circus acts, and whoever comes to work in Egypt are the best, they are paid and insured, and they praise working in Egypt.  I wished Dina Zulfikar seeks the truth about the story of the Sudanese lady whom she said was injured by a lion, to find out that Faten El Helw has nothing to do with this, it seems that some are seeking publicity on the expenses of other people reputation after all now seem to find a way to link Egypt's reputation.




Captain Mohamed El Helw assured that alleged accusation of him taking the cub which was confiscated in Wadi El Natroun from Police Station is not true., and all she said to Wafd newpaper is alleged, because being handled a cub confiscated has to be done through police procedures and I challenge her to bring this police report which states I was handed the lion cub., Captain Helw also said all charges she made against Helw family of smuggling is not true., as already they posses many wildlife animals as official employee of the govs. As he was employed by Govs. As a trainer and he shared and performed his acts in various countries in the world., he said he is also registered in CITES and Wildlife sector, which the coordinator of AW alleged says that he has no permit, what she does not know is that any animal out of Egypt requires permit of CITES, and his animals are all recorded in files, the CITES papers are considered passport of animals Dr Ragi Thoma, Manager of Wildlife in Giza Zoo knows all the animals, recorded in their records.  This campaign against him has nothing to do with animal welfare, as he considers the animals his family, all, represent Egypt well nationally and internationally..  She, should not worry about the animal rights which he owns, she should better lay concern on human rights lost of the Palestinians and other citizens of countries which are not practicing their rights.


Lupa El Helw lion trainer , and daughter of Mohamed El Helw added:  what happens in smuggling of wildlife lions, tigers and others has got nothing to do with Helw Family because my father is Govs employee in the sector of art performance and theatre of Ministry of Culture, even though he is now on pension,  she, Lupa is now a govs. Employee just like her father, continuing his mission, .  There are other parties who do smuggle lions illegally, I myself reported this in various tourist rest houses and restaurants on the Cairo Alex desert road, Lupa added.  I even gave directions and specified those places who have lions and who rent lions to photographers and abuse them, which does harm Egypt reputation.  It seems that anybody who sees a lion thinks the lion belongs to Helw family as they are the pioneers in training lions