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Farewell to LIONSROCK’s oldest inhabitants

It is a very sad day at LIONSROCK as we have had to say farewell to Caesar the 20 year old male lion just 3 short weeks after his companion Carmen passed away. Both lions where living out their twilight years peacefully at LIONSROCK after dramatic rescues by FOUR PAWS. However, due to their age and backgrounds, their health conditions deteriorated to a point where they would have an unacceptable quality of life and so, sadly we realized that their time had come to leave us.

Caesar’s life stands as a bright light of hope for all lions suffering in small dark concrete cages, unappreciated and forgotten. He endured these conditions in a zoo in Romania for 16 years until he was rescued by FOUR PAWS. Wondering how it was possible that he had survived, the team in Romania cared for him until he could make the journey to LIONSROCK. On 13 March 2009 he took the first steps into a place of safety where he could live his life as a lion should. Despite his body being frail and ill Caesar’s determination was massive and within a few short weeks he had recovered remarkably. For the first time in his life, he could walk on the earth, lie on a bed of grass and bask in the warm African sun, with Carmen the lioness to keep him company.

When we rescue and free animals from horrific and cruel conditions, we do so with the knowledge that we have a lifelong responsibility to offer them sanctuary and the very best care so that they may grow old with the dignity and respect that they deserve.  But this responsibility extends to the knowledge that their time with us will come to an end and that when that time comes, they may also die with dignity.

Many people do not know the plight of big cats in captivity around the world that are bred in captivity to be exploited for tourism, hunting and trade in body parts. They come into the world and immediately suffer the anxiety of separation from their mothers; they live their lives in unnatural conditions until such time as they leave the world suffering at the hand of humans.

Caesar’s story has already been told to thousands of visitors at LIONSROCK, who have been inspired and humbled by the courage and strength of one lion whose spirit could not be broken. We will go on telling his story and celebrating his life and draw from his determination; strengthening our efforts to bring hope and life to other big cats and see an end to the abuse of the iconic lion.