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FOUR PAWS transfers 4 lions and 2 tigers from Romania to South Africa

2013-04-09

The animals were taken over this morning from Onesti Zoo to be transported to LIONSROCK

After a life spent in very small premises and inappropriate conditions, 6 felines from Romania will regain their dignity and the joy of life in LIONSROCK sanctuary in South Africa. This morning, FOUR PAWS Foundation successfully finished the takeover operation of the 4 lions and 2 tigers from the Onesti Zoo, Bacau County. The lions confiscated from alleged criminal Nutu Camataru are less lucky: They must remain in Romania due to a procedural error.


The FOUR PAWS team including two vets, ensured the tranquilization, loading of the animals in special crates and the transfer of the animals was conducted to the highest standards for the animals.

 

After medical procedures that took approximately 4 hours, the crates with the six animals were loaded in a truck to Switzerland. The lions are expected to arrive tomorrow afternoon in Zurich Airport, where they will be transported on a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. The felines will eventually arrive at LIONSROCK on 11 April.

 

We are very happy that another zoo from Romania took the right decision to give the big cats to FOUR PAWS for transferring them to LIONSROCK.  We ask the Romanian authorities to take their role in implementing the legislation seriously and to improve the living conditions of hundreds of wild animals in Romanian zoos. These animals deserve our respect and they have the right to a better life”, stated Ioana Dungler, Director of Projects at FOUR PAWS International.

 

The group transferred from the Onesti Zoo includes lion Tarzan, the lioness Simba and their two cubs, Sara and Hera, along with two tigers – Gerica (female) and Tomi (male).  The Onesti city hall officially requested FOUR PAWS to take over the felines from the towns zoo, that has not had the necessary authority to keep the animals since 2007  The animals have lived their whole life on cement floors, in extremely small enclosures and in inappropriate conditions for this species at this zoo. The 4 lions are sharing a cage of 40 m2, while the Romanian legislation requires a minimum surface of 500 m2 for a pair of lions. The medical analysis results show that all the animals have severe lack of minerals and calcium and the lion cubs suffer from rachitis and nanism.

 

In LIONSROCK, the felines will step on grass for the first time in their life. After an adaptation period, the animals will be permanently housed in enclosures of minimum 1 ha (10 000 m2) − 150 times bigger than their current enclosures.

 

To date, FOUR PAWS has already rescued 32 lions and 1 tiger from Romania to their Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. In Romania there are 26 zoological gardens, of which 5 have lost their authorisation to operate due to non-compliance of minimum standards for keeping of wild animals. As the authorities rarely find a solution for relocation, the animals are kept for years in the same small closure, without proper food or medical care. The big number of press reports and petitions sent by Romanian citizens prompted the European Commission to ask the authorities for a full report of zoo wild animal keeping conditions in Romania.

 

FOUR PAWS had also planned to take over the four lions confiscated from the property of Nutu Camataru. The well known, alleged criminal had kept the animals in illegal captivity. By the authorities’ request, FOUR PAWS had transferred the animals to Bucov Zoo, Ploiesti city, for temporary sheltering last February. But due to a procedural error on the part of the Romanian Environmental guard, the four lions cannot leave for South Africa for the time being. The question of the rightful ownership of the animals has not yet been resolved. FOUR PAWS deeply regrets this delay. Ioana Dungler: “Bukov zoo doesn’t have the possibility to house the animals in an adequate way. That is why we offered to take those four lions to our Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. We demand the authorities to act according to the legislation and to end the suffering of the animals”.


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