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Welcome home Simba and Saeed

War lions from Iraq and Syria find new home in South Africa

International animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS relocated the former war lions to South Africa, after over half a year of rehabilitation in Jordan, Simba and Saeed were ready for their final journey to their forever home. Here our dedicated animal welfare department will monitor and plan to socialise them with other rescued lions.

Simba: One of two survivors

Believed to be about four years old, Simba was born in the Montazah Al-Morour Zoo in the eastern part of Mosul during the ongoing war in Iraq. Most of the forty zoo residents died of starvation or were killed by bomb attacks. A few animals escaped from their damaged enclosures. When the FOUR PAWS rescue team stepped in during February 2017, they found only two animals alive in the zoo: bear Lula and lion Simba. After weeks of difficult negotiations in Iraq, the animal welfare organisation successfully evacuated both wild animals in April 2017 and brought them to Jordan.

Saeed: Lucky number 13

Because of his young age, it is believed that two-year-old lion Saeed was also born in captivity during the war in Syria. In July 2017, FOUR PAWS rescued the lion along with twelve other animals from the neglected zoo of the Magic World amusement park near Aleppo. International security companies and the Turkish Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs supported the evacuation. After a two-week stay in Turkey, the Turkish government approved the departure of the thirteen injured and traumatised animals to Jordan in August 2017.

UPDATE: 28 March 2018

Simba and Saeed is settling in extremely well and already feeling right at home.