International animal welfare organization Four Paws has made their 18th transfer to their sanctuary in South Africa after relocating six lions rescued from zoos and circuses in the Netherlands.

The six lions, named Gypsy, Simba, Nora, Neida, Pregan and Kongo, were released in their new home in the Four Paws Big Cat Sanctuary Lionsrock last week.

“Yesterday evening our six lions arrived safely on the International Airport of Johannesburg, South Africa. Despite of the long and exhausting journey, all of them are in good physical condition. They continued their trip to our Big Cat Sanctuary LIONSROCK yesterday evening, where they will be released today.

“Then, Simba, Gypsy, Neida, Nora, Pregan and Kongo will start into their new life as a lion in our Big Cat Sanctuary LIONSROCK, where they will stay for the rest of their life safe and sound in a natural habitat without bars under the blue sky,” Lionsrock stated on their website last Wednesday.

The lions came from big cat rescue Felida in Holland, who asked Four Paws for help as they couldn’t provide all the animals the space they deserved.

Thanks to donors’ donations, Four Paws was able to help out and take six lions to their sanctuary in South Africa.

Four Paws took over Lionsrock in 2006 and turned it into a forever home for rescued big cats up to their high quality standards. Each animal lives in a huge enclosure of several hectares where they are able to leave free and in peace.

The 1.250 hectare sanctuary has been the home of over 90 big cats from all corners of the globe, as well as zebras, gnus, horses and antelopes.


Just last year, Four Paws handled another two big cat rescues. On April, four lions and two tigers where relocated from a closed zoo in Onesti, Romania.

“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.

On November, six tigers from the German Zirkus ‘Starlight Fischer’ in Hessen, Weilburg, where transferred to the sanctuary.

All of the six tigers were born in German circuses and came to Zirkus Starlight as cubs. Four of the cats were performing in the circus arena until they became mature tigers. Since then, they have been split into groups of two and four and have been transported into 25 m² circus wagons where they occasionally had access to a water basin. When the circus was stationed in a town, the animals were taking turns using an outside enclosure. “These conditions were unsuitable for the animal’s needs and completely below the standard requirements,” explains wild life expert Thomas Pietsch from FOUR PAWS, who accompanied the transfer of the tigers.

To help Four Paws with the daily costs of caring for almost 100 rescued cats, please consider making a donation.

All images from Four Paws.

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