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FOUR PAWS has made a safe future possible for six big cats from Romania


Yesterday a new life started for four distressed lions and two tigers from Romania. The animals that come from a closed zoo in Onesti, were brought to LIONSROCK, the big cat sanctuary of FOUR PAWS in South Africa. They now have a life in dignity under the African sun together with 79 lions and 4 Tigers in 1200 hectares.

6 animals confined to small and dilapidated cages inappropriate to their species, without proper food or medical care have been rescued by FOUR PAWS. The group from the Onesti zoo consisting of the lion Tarzan the lioness Siba and her two cubs, Sara and Hera, and the tigress Riuua (formerly named Gerica) and partner Tomi arrived safe and well in the big cat Sanctuary LIONSROCK. The journey took the big cats by truck from Romania, via Vienna to Zurich, from where they were transported by plane to Johannesburg. The final leg of the journey was by truck from Johannesburg to LIONSROCK in the heart of the Free State.

To ensure a stress free release into the sanctuary for the small lion family, the cubs transport crate was placed into the new home first. Full of energy, the small Hera crawled out of the crate and immediately called for her parents. Shortly thereafter the mother and father were released and immediately made an inspection of the area. Hera’s sister Sara remained in the transport crate for a while longer, obviously tired from the journey. The small family soon found a space in their new home where they felt comfortable and safe.

Tomi and Riuua were released into a tiger adaption area and their release was effortless. The curious animals explored the area and were visibly pleased to meet each other again after the trip. After a short exploration of the area they used their new swimming pool to cool off and refresh.

"The animals come from very poor housing conditions. They were malnourished, and the young lions suffer from severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies. With proper nutrition, medical care and optimal keeping conditions we will do our best, to make a better future for them” said Heli Dungler, founder and president of FOUR PAWS.

Yesterday's release was attended by international journalists, partners from the construction industry and local authorities. Andre Schlemmer from the Department of Economic Developments, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs appreciates the cooperation with FOUR PAWS: "We can confiscated big cats in South Africa from poor conditions, but cannot accommodate the animals appropriately. With FOUR PAWS and their project LIONSROCK we have found an ideal and reliable partner. "