Roger Anis

© Roger Anis

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Muhammad Abdel Aziz

Muhammed Abdel Aziz was busy rubbing the elephants with a white liquid, I approached him and inquired about what he was doing, to my question he replied: “I have to rub their bodies with glycerin to moisturize their skin and keep them warm” Muhammad has been working at the zoo for 25 years, about his work he noted: “this is a lifetime companionship, these animals are my life, I think I should not say they are more dear to me than my children, maybe they are just as precious to my heart.” “Na’eema, come here girl!” He called the only female elephant in the zoo, which is 27 years old, with a firm commanding tone. His tone softens as she approached him. From firm to soft, his tone of voice changed quickly: “come here to take a photo with me” Na’eema stood next to him and raised her trunk for the camera. “Do you think she would have been obedient unless we were treating her well?” Said Abdel Aziz, asserting on the strength of their relationship, and then explained: “it is natural for the animals to be surprisingly disobedient at certain times, during mating season for instance. Sadly, the elephants here cannot give birth to new calves in captivity; they need to be free in the wild to reproduce.”