Two lions

we did it! 

A race against time - Kandaka and Mansour arrived at their new forever home

Read more

In January 2020, photos of famished lions in a zoo in Sudan circulated the globe and immediately caught our attention. Due to a lack of financial resources, the animals were left to starve. So we went there to help them.

Our rescue team was in the capital Khartoum, where the big cats and other animals were starving in the Al Qurashi Family Park. The Sudanese authorities granted the team, led by FOUR PAWS veterinarian Dr. Amir Khalil, permission to enter the country and provide the animals with urgently needed food and medical care.  

The FOUR PAWS team consisting of international wildlife experts and veterinarians evaluated the situation on-site, making sure the lions are properly diagnosed, treated, and able to recover from their ordeal. The big cats were extremely malnourished and in dire need of help.

“We were shocked by the pictures of the gaunt lions. It was clear to us that we had to act quickly because the animals would not last much longer. As soon as we are on site, we will provide the severely malnourished lions with proper food and medical care. The highest priority at the moment is to stabilize and improve the health condition of the animals, and determine long-term solutions for them.” 

-Dr. Amir Khalil, FOUR PAWS veterinarian and head of the emergency mission 

Stay up-to-date:

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest news and stories about our work now!


Monday, 20th March

At the end of 2022, lioness Kandaka and lion Mansour finally arrived at Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife. Since then, the former starving lions from Sudan have settled in well at their new species-appropriate home. For more details and updates of the lions, click here.

Male and female lion lying on the ground

Friday, 11th November

After years of effort and multiple challenges, it finally happened! Kandaka and Mansour were physically able to be transferred to Al Ma'wa for the special treatment and rehabilitation they so urgently need. In joint collaboration between FOUR PAWS and Princess Alia Foundation (PAF), and with the support of Sudan Animal Rescue (SAR) and Sudanese Wildlife Authority, we were able to transfer the two Sudanese lions and bring them into their new species-appropriate home, the Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife sanctuary in Jordan. 

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

Friday, September 2nd

Sometimes, even with months of careful preparation, missions do not go as planned. Such was the case with our recent attempt to transfer lions Kandaka & Mansour. Rest assured that we will never give up & are doing everything we can to bring the lions to Jordan!Until then, here is a summary of all the steps we have taken to help these two lions during our missions to Sudan.

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

Tuesday, 3rd August

Sometimes rescue missions don’t go as planned...
Dr Amir Khalil, the entire on-site team, as well as Dr Frank Göritz from the IZW (Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research) prepared everything needed for the transfer of the two lions from Sudan to Jordan. Several months and weeks went into this complicated process, but last minute, it didn’t work out as planned due to political reasons and bureaucratic obstacles in the unstable country.
The fact that we had to leave Kandaka and Mansour behind, deeply saddens us, but we won’t give up and we will keep on trying to finish this mission successfully!

Amir Khalil veterinarian at FOUR PAWS

Friday, July 22nd

Our hands are tied...
Due to the current unstable political and security situation in Sudan resulting in bureaucratic obstacles, we unfortunately have been forced to pause the mission for now. Our team was on the ground checking and providing treatment to Kandaka and Mansour. We were ready and hoping to bring them to Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife sanctuary, a cooperation project in Jordan between the Princess Alia Foundation and FOUR PAWS.
But as we, unfortunately, cannot guarantee a safe transfer of Kandaka and Mansour at the moment, we had to make the hard decision to postpone our mission, leaving them in good care with our partners at Sudan Animal Rescue.
We will always do our best to give animals a species-appropriate home for a lifetime, so we will continue to fight for these two lions!

Dr Amil Khalil arrived in Sudan to transfer Kandaka and Mansour

Wednesday, July 20th

Our team has arrived in Sudan!
 After weeks of preparation and logistical planning, Dr. Amir Khalil and our team traveled to Khartoum. During the next few days, they will be busy preparing for the challenging transfer of Kandaka and Mansour. We are working closely together with Sudan Animal Rescue – the local organization that has been caring for the lions over the last two years. The team has a long list of tasks to complete. Today, they began work on the transport crates and Dr. Khalil examined Kandaka and Mansour. He will begin conditioning the lions for their transfer to Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife, our partner sanctuary in Jordan, where the big cats will get the medical care they need and the species-appropriate life they deserve.

Lioness Kandaka at her temporary home in Sudan

July 2022

In 2020, lioness Kandaka was only skin and bones, slowly starving to death in the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo in Sudan. It was a race against time, but our team of experts managed to save her with the help of local activists. For much of the COVID-19 pandemic, FOUR PAWS could not enter Sudan, therefore, the local organization Sudan Animal Rescue took care of Kandaka and fellow lion, Mansour. Now we can finally go back and bring Kandaka and Mansour to one of our sanctuaries, to ensure they get the needed medical attention and a fresh start in life. 


COVID-19 Update

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, it is not possible for FOUR PAWS to enter Sudan at the moment. However, FOUR PAWS is in constant contact with the local volunteers, who look after the remaining animals in the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and the lockdown in Sudan it is very hard for the volunteers to organize regular visits to the zoo. We stick to our commitment to provide food and care for the animals and currently have to rely mainly on the zoo staff and on our local partner Sudan Animal Rescue.

Lion Mansour

Monday, March 2nd

We are delighted to see the improvements of one of lions who was starving at the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo in Sudan. Mansour is continuing to gain weight following the specialist diet provided by our wildlife experts and dedicated local volunteers. He is getting stronger each day and is making huge improvements that we’re delighted to be able to share with you. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for supporting us throughout this mission.  

Lioness receiving eye examination

Tuesday, February 25th

Kandaka’s examination results! The overall health condition of Kandaka has improved significantly since we provided the urgent first aid and started her treatment. After suspecting the lioness had sight issues, we were able to conduct a thorough examination lead by Dr Frank Goeritz. Additionally, Kandaka’s kidneys are impaired. She is still very fragile and in the long run will require constant monitoring by experts, a species-appropriate place to live and special husbandry, diet and medical care. We will continue to provide food and medicine for the animals at Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo until a long-term solution is found together with the wildlife authorities.

Practical training session with locals

Friday, February 21st

Renown wildlife veterinarian Dr Frank Goeritz, and a team of FOUR PAWS staff, will perform a thorough examination of lioness Kandaka. The team was also invited to give a theoretical and practical training session on the basics of wildlife veterinary medicine and conservation at the Veterinary College of the Sudan University of Science and Technology. The students were extremely interested to gain some of the experience of one of the leading experts in the field and the lecture hall was full of students and graduates from the college. The highlight of the training was the use of the darting for anesthesia and the diagnostic equipment. 

Hyena Memi in her cage

Tuesday, February 18th 

Update about the hyenas! Our team on-site continues to care for the animals at the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo. The two hyenas, named by our local volunteers as REVA and MEMI, have had sand put on the floors of their enclosures, as the concrete was causing wounds for their paws. For Reva, who is pregnant with three cubs, extra attention was needed. She has been equipped with a large cardboard box, so she is able to hide and rest. Inside, the team put a bed of straw and soft fabric. Both the hyenas are enjoying their new enrichment. 

Vet Amir provides enrichment for lion Mansour

Thursday, February 13th

After last week's developments, Mansour had time to settle back in his original enclosure at the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo. The Sudanese authorities surprisingly relocated the lion to another zoo without our knowledge. Our vet, Dr. Amir Khalil, had to intervene because the new surroundings did not meet the requirements for the fragile big cat. Mansour was brought back unharmed. Now we can keep a close eye on him together with our volunteers on-site. 

Local vet in Sudan

Tuesday, February 11th

Teamwork is key! Since the beginning of our Sudan mission, the FOUR PAWS team on-site has been working closely together with local volunteers to help the suffering animals at the Qurashi Family Park Zoo. All our Sudanese volunteers are young vets, who have recently graduated or are about to graduate. They are committed not only to help the animals from this zoo but also to promote animal welfare in the whole country and change the public perception about veterinarians.

Kandaka the lion after treatment

Monday, February 10th

Our vet, Dr. Amir Khalil, is keeping a close eye and monitoring the animals at the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo in Sudan.  Over the weekend, he examined the lioness Kandaka and has found she is making huge improvements. She is already getting much stronger and has since made great improvements in being able to use her hind legs.  

Starving lion drinking

Friday, February 7th

Recent developments in Sudan! In the past days, we have been in ongoing negotiations with the Sudanese government in order to find a species-appropriate home for the animals. The wildlife authorities announced that Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo will be closed down. Yesterday, the government stated that the animals needed to be moved as quickly as possible, and evacuation of the animals began without our knowledge. The tortoises also found at the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo have been moved to a wildlife center, a facility with a better environment for their needs.

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

Wednesday, February 5th

The pregnant hyena. Our team in Sudan were surprised to find out that one of the hyenas is pregnant with three cubs and will give birth in about two months. 

Malnourished Hyena in cage

Tuesday, February 4th

The two hyenas at Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo get medical check ups.

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

Monday, February 3rd

An inside look at the current mission in Sudan. Besides Kandaka and Mansour, the two other lions, a male and a female, have received special care from our emergency team on-site. 

Vet Amir with starving lioness

Sunday, February 2nd 

Kandaka is now recognizing the FOUR PAWS team and the local volunteers: She  now readily waits for them to approach, and waits eagerly to be fed.   

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

Saturday, February 1st  

Emaciated male lion Mansour shows signs of improvement. 

FOUR PAWS and local vets giving medical attention to lion

Friday, January 31st 

Dr. Amir Khalil’s team continues to take care of all the animals at Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo, undertaking further medical examinations.  

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

Thursday, January 30th

The FOUR PAWS team on the ground continues to work tirelessly to improve the health conditions of the animals at Al Qurashi Family Park zoo. 

Male lion receiving medical treatment

Thursday, January 30th

Another day in Sudan brings promising news. The team have continued their work at Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo with a medical examination of the emaciated male lion. 

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

Wednesday, January 29th

Our team started emergency treatment of lioness Kandaka, who is emaciated, weak, and on the brink of a coma. This was the first step on the long road to a possible recovery. 

Tuesday, January 28th

After several hours of infusions, lioness Kandaka showed some improvement. She was able to stand up and walk for a while, and what is even better - she was willing to eat.

Starving lioness is treated by vets

Tuesday, January 28th

Infusion therapy for lioness Kandaka goes on for a couple of hours. Our team is ready to stay with her as long as it takes for Kandaka to get as much of the life-saving medication as she can. 

Starving lioness receiving treatment

Tuesday, January 28th

 The team has started the rehydration treatment for Kandaka, the poor lioness who is fighting for her life. The next hours will be critical for her and the team. The rehydration therapy involves infusion of fluids, vitamins, and minerals. She is a fighter and we hope will fight to survive.  

Stay up-to-date:

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest news and stories about our work now! 

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

Monday, January 27th 

#SaveSudanLions - Dr. Amir Khalil and his team arrived in Khartoum! 

Thursday,  January 23rd: 

In the past few days, photos of the emaciated lions circulated around the world and caused an international outcry. Due to a lack of financial resources, the starving animals could no longer be fed adequately.

Starving Lions

Support our Mission and help us save these animals


Help Now!

Share now!