A lion and a bear, just rescued from Mosul’s zoo, are waiting at a checkpoint in northern Iraq to fly to safety outside the country.
The two animals nearly starved to death in their cages while battle raged around them in the Iraqi city earlier this year.
Mosul is being contested by Iraqi government forces and Islamic State militants.
Several other animals at the zoo died from neglect but these two were finally rescued by the animal charity Four Paws.
The first attempt to move them met with failure as Kurdish authorities denied them entry into their autonomous region last Tuesday and they had to be moved back into the zoo.
The city of Mosul lies inside Iraq while the nearest international airport is in Irbil, in the self-governing territory of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Another attempt was made on Thursday and the animals are still stuck at a checkpoint between Mosul and Irbil.
They are being taken care of by a veterinary team but are in ill health: the bear suffers from pneumonia, while the lion has a joint condition.
Four Paws said on Sunday it was optimistic that the animals would be allowed to cross into Kurdish territory and leave the country in the coming days to a new home.
There are several other animals stuck in the decrepit zoo, including three monkeys, three peacocks, two goats and a pregnant horse.