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Lion rescue in Romania


© FOUR PAWS | Jeanine Noordermeer

Update, 10-15-2015 - Another lion is travelling to LIONSROCK!

As well as the five lions from Baia Mare zoo,  one other lucky lion is also making his way to LIONSROCK this week. Giovanni, a lion from our Big Cat Centre FELIDA in The Netherlands, will join the five lions in Frankfurt and will travel with them to LIONSROCK. Born in Italy in 2003, Giovanni went through many grim experiences before he was rescued  While still a cub, he was abused as a “photo lion” on the beach. Tourists could take pictures and cuddle with him for money. Later, he was forced to perform in shows. During one show an accident happened and Giovanni lost his tail. After years of slavery, he ended up in FELIDA, which was later taken over by FOUR PAWS. All of his life, Giovanni was kept alone and away from other lions. But this is going to end soon. Once he’s well adapted in his new home in LIONSROCK, we’ll try to socialize him with an appropriate female partner.


Update, 10-14-2015 - Ready for departure!


Before the journey began, the five  lions underwent veterinary checks under  anaesthesia. All five are in good health and ready for the long journey to South Africa. We will transfer them by car to Frankfurt International Airport, where they will departure on a cargo flight to Johannesburg. It is a long journey – but worth the effort. In less than 48 hours, these five lions will finally be in a species-appropriate home. They will feel the grass underneath their paws, will smell the fresh African air and will enjoy the first warm rays of the South African spring sun. Stay tuned! We’ll keep you posted about their exiting journey to South Africa. 


Update, 10-14-2015 - It's about to start!

These sad eyes are from a lion, who spent his entire life in a Romanian zoo under the most adverse environmental conditions. Lavinia, Lidia, Marin and Tarhon Big and Petrica –  five lions that have been left behind in a Romanian zoo. The Baia Mare Zoo was closed as it was no longer in compliance with EU regulations on the keeping of wild animals in zoos. However, when the zoo closed, the lions had to stay. Their fate was unclear - until now. For months, we have been trying to rescue the five lions  and  bring them to our Big Cat Sanctuary LIONSROCK.


Now, the fight is finally over and can take the lions with us. After decades behind iron bars in tiny, dirty cages, they will finally experience life in a natural environment in LIONSROCK. In the last couple of months we have been busy constructing new enclosures for the five abandoned lions, and they are now ready for them to move in. Their journey to South Africa is starting now and you can accompany them via social media.