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FOUR PAWS’ next big cats rescue mission



Three lions from Serbia and two tigers from Rüsselsheim, Germany, are all part of a major transfer to the FOUR PAWS big cat sanctuary in South Africa. The operation is scheduled to start this Sunday 23 September 2012.

For the FOUR PAWS teams involved, busy weeks of preparation and planning will be reaching their peak. The lions from Eastern Europe are transported by overland route to Frankfurt Airport.

Three lions from Serbia


The group from Serbia consists of the four-year-old males Ivan and Cornel and three-year-old female Lepa. In 2009, the zoo of Belgrade sold them to a private owner. Private husbandry of such animals became illegal in Serbia at the beginning of 2012, though. Since the way in which they were kept was also considered a risk to the public, the animals were confiscated by Serbian CITES officers shortly after. As in so many similar cases this didn’t mean that their plight had come to an end: there was no suitable living space or adequate care to be found in any of the existing zoos, and the three big cats had to stay in transit. Luckily, the Serbian authorities approached FOUR PAWS to ask for assistance. Now, Lepa, Ivan and Cornel will soon be able to live a life worth living. But they are no individual case. Many lions all across Eastern Europe are still in urgent need for help.

The long odyssey of two tigresses


The female tigers Natasha and Gandhi had to endure an even longer period of suffering. After years spent in a circus in France they were left to their own devices in an empty truck. By 2005, three years after they had been abandoned, the French authorities made the decision to euthanise them. They were saved just in time by the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, a long-time partner of FOUR PAWS at DANCING BEARS PARK Belitsa. A small private zoo in Lübeck, Northern Germany, finally agreed to take them on for a year. The zoo’s proprietors could not offer more than this because their licence was expiring, but a shelter in Rüsselsheim became their next temporary home. When the shelter’s new management heard about LIONSROCK, they decided to talk to FOUR PAWS about the possibility of granting the tigresses a better life. At nine years of age, Natasha and Gandhi can still have many good years ahead of them.