Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Brave lion brothers rescued from Ukraine settle into new home under African skies

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun17,2024

Lion brothers rescued from war in Ukraine have adapted to life under Africa’s skies with great bravery, their keepers have said.

Tsar and Jamil – robbed of their innocence, torn away from their mother and thrust into exploitation on an ostrich farm – were freed into a sanctuary in South Africa in March.

Glen Vena, Born Free’s animal care manager at Shamwari Private Game Reserve, said: “Tsar and Jamil have experienced their first African lightning and rainstorm. After all they’ve been through, not least war in Ukraine, we thought they’d be scared and hide during the flashing skies and rumbling thunder. But not at all, they stayed up on their wooden viewing decks, calmly observing Shamwari’s vast open areas. These are two very curious and brave individuals!”

They already appear comfortable with their new surroundings, exploring their new 2.5 acre “forever home” together

The brothers have been scent-marking, as lions do in the wild, then joining in the dawn and dusk roars with wildlife charity Born Free’s other rescued lions, echoing across Shamwari’s hills and valleys.

A spokeswoman for Born Free said: “It’s as though they have been here for years.”

The heart-wrenching saga of these brothers began in a Ukrainian zoo, where they were cruelly ripped from their mother and thrust into the clutches of exploitation on an ostrich farm to satisfy the curiosity of tourists.

The young lions became malnourished and sickly while being kept in “utterly unsuitable conditions” without specialist care, and being fed a poor-quality diet.

Their salvation came in the form of a wildlife rescue centre in Kyiv, where the full extent of their agony was laid bare through veterinary examinations—calcium deficiencies and bone fractures etched a tale of suffering.

The duo began to recover from their harrowing ordeal, only to face another tragic turn when Ukraine found itself under siege in 2022.

The outbreak of war in Kyiv cast a dark shadow over the lions’ precarious future.

But an incredible team at the Ukrainian rescue centre worked tirelessly to evacuate the cats to Natuurhulpcentrum (NHC) in Belgium, via a short stay at a Polish zoo.

This half-way house has served as a haven for the lions since March 2022 while Born Free meticulously crafted plans for their re-homing in South Africa.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve was also home to lions Jora and Black who were rescued from a circus trailer in Bulgaria.

Express readers generously donated money to help their safe relocation to South Africa in 2015.

Jora continues to roam the enclosure on the reserve while Black died earlier this year aged 16 following on-going health issues.

Martin Miritiawo, animal care assistant, said: “Black and Jora had a wonderful eight years together under this African sun but unfortunately Black died. He was struggling to walk. He had issues with his hind legs. We’re left with Jora. At first it was difficult for his brother who calls for him almost every day. But he’s ok. He’s coping and we’re keeping a close eye on his welfare.”

-To donate to help more big cats, visit this link.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “Brave lion brothers rescued from Ukraine settle into new home under African skies”
  1. What a heartwarming story! It’s amazing to see how Tsar and Jamil, despite all they’ve been through, have shown incredible bravery and adaptability in their new African home. It’s heartening to hear that they are exploring and scent-marking, truly embracing their new surroundings. Kudos to the rescuers and caretakers for providing them with a second chance at a better life!

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