Just a month before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the population of Baghdad, impoverished, faced 13 years of embargo in dramatic circumstances. A million children between the ages of 12 and 15 had left school to help their families. In order to survive, the people came up with the most surprisingly ingenious tactics.

It is well known that poverty is the best food for ingenuity. Every day, citizens of Baghdad wrestle with adversity, challenge the longest international embargo in history, and invent thousands of survival tricks. Yet Ali Al-Mosawi's boldness leaves the rest standing: he goes out to hunt animals around the country, locks them up in his 700 -square-feet plot, and has founded a surreal zoo, nestled between a shop and an office.

What is an enormous sea turtle doing here in this blue plastic bath full of salt? And these two bears, locked in a cage five feet tall and six wide? Ali charges 250 dinars (10 cents) for a ticket to this suffocating space, crammed full with two hyenas, a wolf, three monkeys, an eagle, fox cubs, fawns...

Some mothers visit the Abu-Bara’a Zoo with their children after the school. Ali tries to sell me some animals: "You can have the bear for 230 dollars..."

Published in Interviu