Middle East

Gaza lioness leaves territory for new life in the West Bank

  • A lioness sits after her arrival at a zoo in the Atil village near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, Monday, April 11, 2016. The lioness was evacuated from a makeshift zoo in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, to join her mate who was moved earlier to a better zoo in the West Bank. Four adult lions and two cubs were evacuated from cash-strapped, conflict-ridden zoos in Gaza for treatment and better living conditions in the West Bank and Jordan. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

    A lioness sits after her arrival at a zoo in the Atil village near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, Monday, April 11, 2016. The lioness was evacuated from a makeshift zoo in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, to join her mate who was moved earlier to a better zoo in the West Bank. Four adult lions and two cubs were evacuated from cash-strapped, conflict-ridden zoos in Gaza for treatment and better living conditions in the West Bank and Jordan. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Palestinians look at a lioness after her arrival at a zoo in the Atil village near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, Monday, April 11, 2016. The lioness was evacuated from a makeshift zoo in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, to join her mate who was moved earlier to a better zoo in the West Bank. Four adult lions and two cubs were evacuated from cash-strapped, conflict-ridden zoos in Gaza for treatment and better living conditions in the West Bank and Jordan. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

    Palestinians look at a lioness after her arrival at a zoo in the Atil village near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, Monday, April 11, 2016. The lioness was evacuated from a makeshift zoo in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, to join her mate who was moved earlier to a better zoo in the West Bank. Four adult lions and two cubs were evacuated from cash-strapped, conflict-ridden zoos in Gaza for treatment and better living conditions in the West Bank and Jordan. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • A lioness sits in a crate on a truck on the Palestinian side of Erez crossing with Israel in northern Gaza Strip. Monday, April. 11, 2016. The lioness has been evacuated from its makeshift zoo in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, to join her partner who was moved earlier to a better zoo in the West Bank. Four adult lions and two cubs were evacuated from cash-strapped, conflict-ridden zoos in Gaza for treatment and better living conditions in the West Bank and Jordan. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)

    A lioness sits in a crate on a truck on the Palestinian side of Erez crossing with Israel in northern Gaza Strip. Monday, April. 11, 2016. The lioness has been evacuated from its makeshift zoo in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, to join her partner who was moved earlier to a better zoo in the West Bank. Four adult lions and two cubs were evacuated from cash-strapped, conflict-ridden zoos in Gaza for treatment and better living conditions in the West Bank and Jordan. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)  (The Associated Press)

Israeli and Palestinian handlers have transferred a lioness from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank

Uri Madar, an official with COGAT, an Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, inspected the 7-year-old feline Monday as it entered Israel on the way to its new home at a Palestinian zoo in the West Bank.

He said it is a "joyful day for all animal lovers."

Some 41 big cats, including lions and tigers, are held "not in ideal conditions" in Gaza, he said.

The lioness had been smuggled into Gaza through a tunnel when it was a few months old.

Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza in 2007 when the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power there.