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New enclosures in LIONSROCK: Senior lions Cesar and Carmen moved to a better home

Cesar and Carmen were the first lions to benefit from the completion of new enclosures at South African sanctuary LIONSROCK.

The two big cats have spent most of their lives in inappropriate keeping conditions: 19-year-old Cesar was rescued from a shut down zoo in the Romanian town of Tecuci in 2009, where he had been living in a 6m2 concrete cage. Carmen is the last lion taken over from a bankrupt safari park in Austria and was transferred to LIONSROCK the same year as Cesar. The two seniors share the same living space since 2010, but were prioritised to be moved to an enclosure that suits their needs better, now that age is having an increasing impact on their mobility. In their new home, Cesar and Carmen have the best chances of enjoying their sunset years in dignity.

The health of both animals has been improving greatly since their arrival. The excellent conditions at LIONSROCK and the dedicated work of vets and animal carers have given them new strength. Cesar, who had lost nearly all of his fur, looks much more like a real lion now, even though he is much smaller than he should be, due to many years of malnutrition and insufficient care. This has also affected his teeth, but he is generally in a good shape now. Carmen arrived in a better state than her companion, but had to undergo anesthesia and minor treatments as well. Both have been fighting for their lives bravely all this time and have been released into their new enclosure with the best of prospects.

Basilea to be transferred soon

The good progress made with the costly building of new enclosures also means that new options are arising in offering help to many severe cases in Europe. The most urgent ones have been fast-tracked and will now soon be eligible for a transfer to LIONSROCK: Six lions will embark on a new life in early June. Among them are lioness Basilea, who is locked up in a 12 m2 room in Romania, and another young lioness living in a St. Petersburg dog shelter after she was found on the street. Also on the top of the list is a male leading a solitary existence in an Italian zoo since his companion died. The zoo, which cannot offer appropriate conditions, has decided to abandon the keeping of big cats altogether. Their last lion will soon return to his true home.