Freedom is precious to each & every living being. But for this group of lions, it meant heaven. These lions were captive since birth and when they got the freedom, their reactions were more than enough to tell the tale.
A neglected lion
Neglected and being imprisoned for most of his life, this lion had suffered a lot. He was not aware of an open environment, where he can run and breathe freely. Fortunately, in the later part of his life, he was introduced to an open ground.
Too Volatile for the circus
Lidia, Lavinia, and Petrica were a part of the Globus Circus, located in Bucharest, Romania. All three of them were trained as the circus star attractions. Petrica was over-trained by his trainer, which irked him. Soon after the attack, the lions were presumed to be unstable for the circus.
An amazing video on Youtube
An animal rescue organization FOUR PAWS posted an incredible video on their Youtube account on October 21, 2015. In the video, there were five rescued lions who were prisoned as soon as they were born and were completely unaware of the outside world. And their ordeal began 15 years ago.
Concrete Prison in exchange
Later in 2002, the group was shifted to Baia Mare Zoo. But they experienced similar conditions as they were experiencing in the circus. According to FOUR PAWS post on their website, the lions exchanged the circus “for a concrete prison.”
Similar Inappropriate Condition
And as a matter of fact, the cage in which they were put in was a small concrete box. It was not inappropriate, but soon their numbers were going to increase, as Lavinia was pregnant with Petrica’s cubs, and she gave birth to the cubs the following year.
Born In Captivity
The cubs were named as Marin and Tarhon Big, and they shared the similar fate as their parents. They were born in captivity, in the Baia Zoo. But they had a slight share of luck. The zoo was examined by higher authorities as its conditions were deemed inappropriate for the animals living there.
The Zoo was closed by the authorities
FOUR PAWS later wrote that the zoo was “not meeting the criteria set forth by the EU Zoo Directive.” As a result, it was closed down by the authorities. It created even a bigger fuss now as the animals of that zoo had no place to live.
Vet to the Rescue
Soon a new place had to be found for the lions, else they would face a premature end to their lives. Loana Dungler, the Director of wild animals at FOUR PAWS revealed that there was a veterinarian, who came forward to help the lions.
The Vet didn’t give up
“The veterinarian who took care of them didn’t want to give up,” Dungler explained in the video. She also explained that the lions would have to be euthanized if the vet didn’t offer his help. But the vet “didn’t accept that the lions would be put to sleep,” she added.
FOUR PAWS breaks into the scene
And that’s where the animal rescue organization FOUR PAWS International entered the scene. Since 20 years, the group was dedicated to protecting animals from abuse. “We view ourselves as the advocate and champion of those who have no voice of their own,” reads a post on the FOUR PAWS website.
FOUR PAWS takes the responsibility
FOUR PAWS took the onus on themselves. They decided to take the responsibilities of the lions. But, the organization had no space on its site for the lions. However, they started to look out for a location where the cats could fit in for the time being. And they were successful.
Renovated a farm
In fact, FOUR PAWS renovated a farm, which was not in function for quite some time now. The FOUR PAWS organization took care of the big cats personally. They also had assigned a local veterinarian to help the lions.
Finally, a permanent home
Eventually, in October 2015 FOUR PAWS managed a permanent home for the lions. To be precise, they were going to be shifted to LIONSROCK, the group’s South African big cat sanctuary.
Breaking up the journey
LIONSROCK was almost 15,000 miles away from their current location and it was impossible to reach there in just one single trip. Taking lions’ health into consideration, the group partitioned their journey.
The Journey Begins
Apart from the partitioning of the journey, the lions had other people to accompany them. They were veterinarians from South Africa, Romania, Germany, and the Netherlands. Plus, there was a surprise addition to their group. On their way, the entourage picked up an Italian-born lion called Giovanni, who had experienced similar ordeal as his companions.
Reached the ultimate destination
As a result of his ordeal, Giovanni lost his tail even before FOUR PAWS could rescue him. And after a long journey, the Lions finally set foot on their new home – the huge 3,000-acre big cat paradise, LIONSROCK.
Excited To Explore
Well, the most of the animals didn’t have even breathed outside a cage. The rescue video posted by FOUR PAWS exudes that, but the big cats were excited to explore. However, then one of them exuded a heart-warming and heart-breaking reaction.
A bright future
When the camera was focussed on the lion’s eyes, there was a visible amount of tear rolling down its face. And according to the repertoire which the FOUR PAWS organization maintains, there was no doubt that the lions had a very bright future.
Living In Natural Habitat
“At LIONSROCK, the six big cats will live in large enclosures in a natural habitat,” read the post. “The unique … sanctuary offers a species-appropriate home to over a hundred lions and tigers from poor keeping conditions.” The organization has other plans as well.
Bad conditions of Romanian Zoos
“Most Romanian zoos have very bad keeping conditions, with small enclosures, lacking specialized medical care, and proper food,” Dungler wrote. “We are thus planning … a reproduction control program for big cats in Romanian zoos, together with local authorities.” Hopefully, with the aids from organizations such as FOUR PAWS, one day these vulnerable animals will flourish once again.