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.