Once again, our animal friends have brought us a year rich in emotions.
Certain made front page headlines, their tragic fates having moved the world. Others carried a strong message of hope, having overcome life's obstacles and regained trust in humans. Others, still, remain in our memories simply because they made us smile.
To finish off the year, we have paid hommage to 11 animals who have marked our spirits and hearts in 2016.
1. Harambe, the gorilla killed after a child fell into his zoo enclosure
On May 28 of this year, Harambe, a 17-year-old silver back gorilla, was shot by zoo personnelle at the Cincinnati Zoo, in Ohio, after a four-year-old child fell into his enclosure. After escaping surveillance of his parents the young boy fell into the pit, close to the 400 pound male.
To protect the child, zoo operators rapidly made the decision to kill the animal, explaining that a tranquilizer wouldn't have worked fast enough. A number of voices raised their concern and denounced the actions of zoo, judging them disproportionate, as well as underlining the absurdity of zoos in general.
2. Pizza, prisoner of a shopping mall and considered "the saddest bear in the world"
The fate of this polar bear, tragically exhibited in an aquarium at the Grandview mall, in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, scandalized the web. Without ever seeing the light of day, the animal is a prisoner in a tiny enclosure constantly surrounded by flashing cameras.
Her story left us speechless. The female mastiff was found buried alive, in agony, near Paris. Her savior, Pedro Dinis, found her after his dog smelled her scent. Exhausted after a series of revolting cruelty, her abuser even chained her neck to a sack of gravel to leave her with no chance of escape.
The veterinarians at a clinic in Levallois-Perret (north east of Paris) accomplished what seemed impossible, and successfully saved her. Athena died on February 19 in her new forever home after two bouts of cancer.
4. Khalessi, the female Pit Bull with the mutilated face
A true miracle, she was found incredibly injured and starving in a park in Orlando, Florida, last August. At the time of her rescue, several of her ribs were broken, her back legs trailed behind her and her spinal cord was damaged. Most horrifying, his muzzle was mutilated, entirely cut off.
Her rescuers rushed her to an urgent veterinary clinic in Hudson, where she had a five hour operation which permitted her to make some improvements, but she sadly passed away on June 23.
5. Chi Chi, the dog destined to be eaten and found in a garbage can in South Korea
In certain countries, like Korea or China, dogs are raised to be consumed. That was the case for Chi Chi, a two-year-old Golden Retriever. After having experienced the worst torture, Chi Chi had, miraculously, been saved just in time. She had to have four of her paws amputated to survive.
6. Dobrynya, the young German Retriever was given to France by Russia after the death of Diesel the police dog
Source: French Embassy in Russia
In November 2015, the attack at Saint-Denis cost the life of Diesel, the assault dog who accompanied RAID agents. He was first line in entering the apartment where the terrorists were holed up, and she was hit by a bullet from an assault rifle.
Shortly after, Russia showed their support for France by offering Dobrynya to the grieving RAID agents. But when Dobrynya started her training last January, she was labeled "unfit for service": two x-rays revealed that the dog suffered from dysplasia, a malformation of the hind legs, very common in German Shepherds.
7. Ginnie, the terrified, tiny dog who lived behind a trashcan
Discovered by a passerby, she lived behind a dumpster in Los Angeles. Ginnie had never had human contact and was unapproachable. She finally let volunteers help her, who immediately took her to an emergency veterinary clinic where she received care and affection which finally allowed her to live a normal life.
8. Laziz, the tiger who escaped from the zoo of nightmares
Source: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters
Last August, the association Four Paws successfully evacuated the last survivors of the Khan Younis zoo located in Gaza. The residents of the zoo, located in a war zone, known as "the worst zoo in the world," lived in a nightmare. Among them was Laziz, a magnificent nine-year-old tiger, who now lives a happy life in a sanctuary in South Africa.
He was the only polar bear in Argentina. A prisoner for 22 years at the Mendosa Zoo, in the west of the country, died on July 3, 2016, at the age of 31. Arturo became tragically famous two years ago after a petition denouncing his condition collected 1.2 million signatures.
10. Anubis, the dog with the mutilated face living in a car
It's rare that any dogs have faces as many horrors and trials as Anubis. The poor dog was born Cairo, Egypt. The beginning of his life, he spent his time as a guard dog, attached day and night at the entrance of a property. Like all dogs trained to guard a house, he barked often. Too often according to his owners, who cut off his muzzle. Miraculously, he fled and managed to survive his injuries.
Nicknamed "the queen mother," Machali died on August 18 at the age of 20. A star in India, where millions of stamps were printed in her image, she was thought to be the oldest tiger in the world.
She passed her life in liberty, enjoying a vast territory in the Ranthambore National Park, in the village of Rajastan, India. Thanks to her advanced age - most Bengal tigers live an average of 12 years - the tiger had a moving ceremony paying hommage to her by the reserve team.