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Bagira's last journey



On April 30, Bagira, a lioness that FOUR PAWS had saved from a terrifying living conditions in Bulgaria, has passed away in South Africa. LIONSROCK became her home and safe haven after many years of suffering in captivity. Bagira had a strong spirit, a real lioness at heart, despite her handicap.

It was not always like this for Bagira. Without dignity or the simplest enjoyment, she was suffering year after year in a bare concrete cage in Bulgaria. Malnutrition since birth and bad living conditions caused her body to break. When FOUR PAWS found her in that dreadful situation, she was approximately 16 years old and deformations on her spine restricted movement of her hind legs. But there was hope, when it became clear after a thorough medical examination, that Bagira did not have pain, but rather limited sensation in her legs. FOUR PAWS prepared her rescue and transfer to LIONSROCK. Bagira arrived in February 2011 to her new life.

A lioness with a special history

As the first lion with a handicap at LIONSROCK, Bagira was provided an enclosure designed for her special needs. But a good environment and better care is not always enough. Animals that have experienced so much abuse, often have difficulties to trust people, and Bagira found it very difficult to feel safe. So the volunteer program of LIONSROCK became Bagira’s second salvation. It took only one loving volunteer spending hours every day with Bagira, to gain her trust and help her to finally move on into a happier life. From that moment, she has touched many people’s hearts and her strong will to enjoy life for the first time left no one untouched.

Bagira, an icon for LIONSROCK


Bagira’s rescue and two years at LIONSROCK are a symbol for the essence of our work as a sanctuary and the values of FOUR PAWS. Too many animals suffer in unspeakable ways and death becomes their only rescue. Bagira was on that same path, but we believe that she was meant to cross ours and become an icon for LIONSROCK, a bright shining light of hope. Her story shows, that the spirit of a lion is stronger than a broken body or a small concrete cage and that dignity prevails with the help of love.