Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home

by Born Free Foundation
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Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Give Four Former Circus Lions A Sanctuary Home
Louga
Louga

Thank you for choosing to support Born Free’s work to give four former circus lions a sanctuary forever home.

Thanks to your support, we have a new update from our Animal Care Manager at Shamwari, Glen Vena, who says: “The Lions of Lockdown seem to be continuing to settle well as they have explored and scent marked their enclosure on many occasions.

“Bellone is very relaxed and seems to be well recovered, in terms of temperament, from her difficult past. Angela, on the other hand, is more alert and likely to growl in a defensive manner.

“Louga, the only male in the group, can often be seen surrounded by his girls – it is amazing how they seem to care for him so much. Saïda is still dominant however, to the point that even Louga takes a step back from her sometimes.

“I always tell visitors Louga’s story and they are shocked to learn that he doesn’t have a mane because he was castrated at a young age by his former owner to make him ‘easier to handle’. Speaking to visitors lets them understand why these animals do not belong in zoos or circuses, but Louga is still a stunning lion who is no lesser for his lack of mane.”

Louga also made a big impact on Born Free’s Rescue and Care Officer, Flo Blackbourn, who recently visited Shamwari and was lucky enough to see Louga during her trip. She says: “I saw Louga ‘in person’ when I visited The Julie Ward Centre at the Shamwari Private Game Reserve in June 2022.

“The enclosure shared by all four Lions of Lockdown is large and full of shrubs and bushes which keep them well hidden from view. Because of this, I only saw Louga very briefly when he chose to venture out from behind some shrubs, seeming curious as to what was happening as he could hear our movement.

“He very calmly sauntered out and watched us from a few metres away, allowing himself to be in full view. He seemed intrigued and not agitated or nervous, as you may expect from a lion who has spent years being used by people for entertainment. It is amazing that after all he had been through he was finally able to see humans without the fear that must have come with it for so many years.

“When he was happy with what was going on he turned slowly and returned to the bushes to spend the rest of his day with his lion friends out of view. He must finally feel relaxed and at home, knowing that he is free to live a life worth living, free from harm.”

All four lions are doing great, BUT we still need your help to raise vital funds to support their lifetime care at our sanctuary, and give them the nutritious food, veterinary treatment, and enrichment they deserve – will you continue your support with a gift today?

Thank you so much from the Born Free team.

The lions at their sanctuary home
The lions at their sanctuary home
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The 'Lions of Lockdown' enjoying their new home!
The 'Lions of Lockdown' enjoying their new home!

June 2022 Update: Learning to be Lions

Thank you for choosing to support Born Free’s work to give four former circus lions a sanctuary forever home.

We have an exciting new report to share from our Animal Care Manager at Shamwari, Glen Vena, who has been carefully monitoring our lions since they arrived at their new home in February.

Glen says: “Seeing our Lions of Lockdown thriving in their new home is just amazing! Each month is different as the seasons change here in the southern hemisphere – it must be an experience in itself for these four, who were all captive-born in France. Coming to Africa means their environment changed dramatically – I’m sure they’ve never experienced so much space or privacy before. It’s all very new to them.

“The three lionesses - Angela, Bellone, Saida and male lion Louga all love their food and are learning there is always enough for everyone. Sometimes there can be squabbles at feeding time but we have noted that, if a certain hierarchy is followed, there will be no problems – so we make sure Saida gets first pick, followed by Louga, then Bellone and finally Angela. In addition, we have been making use of our smaller ‘hospital camps’ and night houses to separate the cats and make sure all of them get the good food they need.

“However, generally, the lions are so sweet and, as you can see, love being around each other, enjoying each other’s company. As I explained to my colleagues when the lions first arrived, I suspected that Louga might have to ‘dig deep’ to be the King of the group. Thus far we definitely have a Queen in charge, and Louga seems to be fine with this hierarchy for now!

“In short, the Lions of Lockdown are doing great, and can now start to behave like real lions – an opportunity they were mostly deprived of for many years. It is wonderful to know that, with your help, Born Free’s team is making a huge difference to their lives here as the four gradually work out their roles within their little pride.”

We still need YOUR help to raise vital funds to support the four lions’ lifetime care at our sanctuary, and give them the nutritious food, veterinary treatment, and enrichment they deserve – will you continue your support with a gift today?”

Thank you so much from the Born Free team.

Playing together in the sun
Playing together in the sun
Finding their feet and adapting...
Finding their feet and adapting...
Learning natural 'lion' behaviours
Learning natural 'lion' behaviours

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Release from the travelling crate (c) B Louwrens
Release from the travelling crate (c) B Louwrens

Thank you for choosing to support our work to give four former circus lions a sanctuary home.

We have great news to report! After nearly four years being cared for by our friends at Tonga Terre d’Accueil in France, whilst the COVID-19 pandemic prevented global travel, and an eight-thousand-mile journey, our ‘Lions of Lockdown’ have finally reached the safety of their forever home at our sanctuary in South Africa!

Sold as young cubs, Angela, Bellone, Saïda and Louga were all removed from a French circus in 2018 after their owner relinquished them. In early 2019, Born Free became aware of the lions and their heart-breaking story, and promised to give them a forever home at their big cat sanctuary at Shamwari, in South Africa.

Generous Born Free supporters raised the funds to transport the lions to their ancestral homeland. Preparations were made, special crates built, permits obtained and flights booked. And then COVID-19 struck a brutal blow to the plans - travel restrictions meant the whole move had to be put on hold indefinitely. And so, like so many of us affected by the impact of the pandemic, these magnificent ‘Lions of Lockdown’ have been forced to wait for the journey that will transform their lives. And we are delighted to report that they have now arrived safely in their ancestral homeland!

Their great adventure began on 8th February when they travelled by road from Lyon, to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, before departing by air for South Africa. All four lions were remarkably calm and relaxed during their journey, and when they reached their final destination, Born Free’s Big Cat sanctuary at Shamwari Private Game Reserve, the team were delighted to see them all emerge confidently and enthusiastically from their travelling crates, and start to explore the native landscape of their 3-acre enclosure.

Since their arrival at our sanctuary, the Lions of Lockdown are acclimatising to their new surroundings, and absolutely thriving! Angela, Bellone and Saïda, have been staying close together, sheltering from the heat of the day under shady trees. Louga has been spending quite a bit of time in the cool of his night house but comes out to check on the girls every now and again!

They have been cautiously exploring their three acre, natural enclosure, filled with native grasses and shrubs, and all four enjoyed a delicious feast of fresh chicken once they had recovered from their journey.

Finally home, we still need YOUR help to raise vital funds to support their lifetime care at the sanctuary, and give them the nutritious food, veterinary treatment, and enrichment they need – will you continue your support with a gift today?”

Thank you so much from the Born Free team.

Settling in at Shamwari (c) Shamwari
Settling in at Shamwari (c) Shamwari
Arrival at Shamwari (c) Brad Louwrens
Arrival at Shamwari (c) Brad Louwrens

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Belllone and Angela (C) Tonga Terre d'Accueil
Belllone and Angela (C) Tonga Terre d'Accueil

Thank you for choosing to support our work to give four former circus lions a sanctuary home.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for our rescue and relocation work this year, as countries around the world experienced lockdowns and travel restrictions. Despite this, we’ve been working hard to finalise arrangements for Angela, Bellone, Louga and Saïda’s move to their new sanctuary home in South Africa.

The four lions had a difficult start to life, living and performing in a travelling circus in France before they were surrendered by their owner. Since then, they have been living happily together at a temporary home at French animal rescue centre, Tonga Terre d’Accueil, until they can be relocated to the safety of their new home at Shamwari, home to Born Free’s big cat sanctuary in South Africa.

Unfortunately, earlier this year their relocation from France to South Africa was prevented by travel restrictions, but as flights to South Africa start opening up again, we are working hard to secure their flights, reorganise and re-apply for all the necessary permits and paperwork and finally move them to their new home as soon as possible.

Shamwari is already home to 12 lions and four leopards rescued from circuses, zoos and private owners around the world, including Ciam, who was rescued from a cage in a garden in southern France where he was being kept illegally as a pet, and Maggie, who was confiscated from a circus in Germany with her sister Sonja, where they had been living in a cramped trailer. For many of the cats, arriving at Shamwari is the first time they have felt grass under their paws or had the freedom to run around! Whatever their circumstances, they soon adapt to their new life and start to enjoy the sights and sounds of Africa, and final preparations are now being made by the specialist Shamwari team, to welcome the four new arrivals.

We look forward to sharing the good news that Angela, Bellone, Louga and Saïda have arrived at their forever home as soon as possible. Thank you so much for your continued support.

Louga (C) Tonga Terre d'Accueil
Louga (C) Tonga Terre d'Accueil
Ciam at Shamwari
Ciam at Shamwari
Ciam's first steps on African soil (c) Born Free
Ciam's first steps on African soil (c) Born Free

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Angela (C) Tonga Terre d'Accueil
Angela (C) Tonga Terre d'Accueil

Thank you for choosing to support our work to give four former circus lions a sanctuary home.

The big top is no place for a lion, forced to perform demeaning tricks while music blares and lights flash. No wonder Angela, Bellone, Louga and Saïda, rescued from a circus in France, seem so content at their tranquil temporary home with our Tonga Terre d’Accueil friends in Lyon.

But, this is just the beginning of their journey and, as soon as possible, the four will move to our big cat sanctuary at Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Africa. “With COVID-19 restrictions beginning to lift, we can start to plan taking Angela, Bellone, Louga and Saïda to their new home,” explains Maggie Balaskas, our acting Head of Rescue & Care. “We have reapplied for final documentation – which had mostly expired due to unforeseen delays – and are now reviewing all the logistical components for the lions’ life-changing journey.”

16-year-old Bellone and Angela, Louga and Saïda – all aged 12 – have been waiting patiently at their temporary home, unaware of the impacts the pandemic has had across the world and our plans.

Feisty Saïda or Louga – the only male – usually instigate play, pestering Angela and Bellone to join in. But recently, dignified Bellone has been the one to insist Angela plays, pawing her tail or gently patting her as she walks past, in the hope of a reaction. Being an amicable soul, Angela happily responds, chasing Bellone or rolling around in a playful wrestle, before collapsing in a heap together to doze off in the sun.

Thanks to you, a new future beckons for Angela, Bellone, Louga and Saïda in the coming months...

Bellone (C) Tonga Terre d'Accueil
Bellone (C) Tonga Terre d'Accueil
Louga (C) Tonga Terre d'Accuei
Louga (C) Tonga Terre d'Accuei
Saida (C) Tonga Terre d'Accueil
Saida (C) Tonga Terre d'Accueil

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Born Free Foundation

Location: Horsham, West Sussex - United Kingdom
Website:
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Twitter: @BornFreeFDN
Project Leader:
Victoria Lockwood
Horsham, West Sussex United Kingdom
$1,718 raised of $20,000 goal
 
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