The Lionesses from Timisoara were safely released in LIONSROCK
4 lionesses from Romania were safely released into LIONSROCK, in South Africa, their rightful home.
After a journey from Romania, via Zurich, the four lionesses arrived at OR Tambo International Airport early in the morning. After vet inspections and release by the state authorities, the lionesses made the final 3 hour journey to LIONSROCK by truck.
The release was attended by many dignitaries and media representatives including the MEC for Tourism of the Free State, who opened the first crate for the release. “This was a most humbling experience and to feel the power of such a majestic creature being returned to a natural environment was most inspiring” stated the Honorable Ms Mamiki Qabathe.
The lionesses, three from the Timisoara zoo and one from private keeping – lived their entire life in improper conditions.
They were surrounded by darkness and a monotonous life. The small dark cages without light were much too warm in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. Walking on concrete every minute of their life, never felt real daylight, these majestic lionesses were suffering alive. Nobody ever gave them names. They lived their lives unrecognized in the dark, and old and broken shelter. They have never been able to walk on sand or smell grass, never been able to run freely through the wild. Never been able to live a lion’s life.
“It was truly amazing for me to see the reactions of the lionesses as they stepped from their transport crates onto the grass for the first time and I know that they will have a wonderful life at LIONSROCK” said Ioana Dungler, International Director for Projects of FOUR PAWS.
Basilea/ Andy, now 13 months old, was supposed to be a mascot for tourists at the seaside. She was saved by an animal lover that took care of her for more than half a year. He solicited the help of FOUR PAWS, after he found out about the LIONSROCK reservation where other Romanian lions are now living in large prides.
Although her new owners really cared about her, they could not give her what a young lion needs: Enough space to run around and the opportunity to be with other lions. Now at LIONSROCK she will exactly, what a young lion needs.
The three other lionesses lived for 9 years in the Timisoara Zoo, a space extremely small in comparison dakto the needs of their species. As they didn’t have the authorization to show the animals to the public, the Zoo contacted FOUR PAWS for finding the best solution for the animals.
The lionesses will be monitored in the coming period to check their adaption to their environment and health conditions by a team of professionals, and in the future will be moved to larger areas.