Seven rescued lions reach Dutch sanctuary after journey across Europe

Seven rescued lions reach Dutch sanctuary after journey across Europe

FOUR PAWS rescued the lions from inappropriate breeding and keeping conditions in Romania


October 4, 2021 – After a journey across the European continent through Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Germany, the seven lions finally reached their new home at FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary in the Netherlands, on October 1st. FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organization, rescued three female and four male lions on September 29 from unsafe keeping conditions at Picior de Munte in Southern Romania. After years of being exploited and kept in inappropriate conditions, the seven rescued lions can now finally start a life worthy of a lion.

The FOUR PAWS team traveled roughly 40 hours and over 1,200 miles and crossed five borders to bring the lions to their new home. 

“All seven lions have managed the long journey well. The vets checked on them during regular stops and the lions were calm most of the time. Some of them got a little nervous on arrival, which we expected. Now they can relax and get used to their new surroundings. Our experienced team at FELIDA will provide all the care these lions need.” 

Ioana Gabriela Dungler, Director of the Wild Animal Department at FOUR PAWS and responsible for the rescue mission

While lions Elza and Simba, who were kept separate from the others and need special care, will most likely stay at FELIDA, FOUR PAWS plans to bring the five younger lions to its LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa as soon as possible.

FOUR PAWS CEO Josef Pfabigan was also on-site in the Netherlands to welcome the new arrivals: “These seven lions represent thousands of wild animals in captivity worldwide. When we turn the spotlight on these lions rescued from private keeping, we bring all those animals out of the dark who are still suffering. Our rescue missions are not only about providing a better life for individual animals but also about creating awareness that we need to treat all creatures in this world with respect, empathy, and understanding.”

FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary in the Netherlands is one of multiple FOUR PAWS sanctuaries worldwide for rescued wild animals. It functions as a special care facility for physically and mentally traumatized big cats. The big cats that recover from the hardships of their past can be transferred to LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. Animals that need lifelong intensive and specialized care stay at FELIDA.

As with many FOUR PAWS rescues, this work would not be possible without our philanthropic partnerships. Tigers in America generously contributed to the transport of these 7 Romanian lions.

Learn more about FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need, and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy, and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam, as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. 

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