Lions rescued from Sudan conflict zone find new home in South Africa

A group of eleven lions was rescued from the turmoil of a conflict zone in Sudan. File picture: Pixabay

A group of eleven lions was rescued from the turmoil of a conflict zone in Sudan. File picture: Pixabay

Published Feb 20, 2024


In a heart-warming tale of resilience and compassion, a group of eleven lions was rescued from the turmoil of a conflict zone in Sudan and have found solace and a new home in South Africa's Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary.

In November last year, the global animal welfare organisation Four Paws embarked on a daring mission to evacuate 48 wild animals from the midst of the conflict in Sudan's capital, Khartoum.

The team returned to Sudan in January in a bid to rescue more animals, but efforts were affected when fighting erupted near the designated safe area near Wad Madani.

Among the rescued animals were eleven lions, who had endured nine months surrounded by the tragedies of war.

They were traumatised, weak, and emaciated and in need of care and rehabilitation.

Despite being in dire conditions, the lions responded positively to treatment and were deemed fit for relocation to Lionsrock.

After being safely transported to Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife in Jordan, where they received critical medical attention, the lions finally embarked on their journey to South Africa.

Lions were welcomed to their new home with open arms as considered planning and preparation, including a cargo flight and specialized enclosures, went into the process.

At Lionsrock, the lions will receive tailored care to help them recover from the trauma they endured.

Known for its commitment to animal welfare, the sanctuary ensures that the lions will live out their days in peace and comfort, free from the sounds of fighting and suffering.

Josef Pfabigan, the chief executive and President of Four Paws, expressed gratitude for the successful rescue mission and emphasized the importance of protecting animals caught in the crossfire of human conflicts.

“Sadly, more and more conflicts arise all around the world, causing humanitarian crises but also posing a threat to captive animals dependent on human care. We work globally not only to rescue wild animals from cruel and dangerous conditions but also to prevent their suffering in the first place,” said Pfabigan.

Dr Amir Khalil, the Four Paws veterinarian who led the rescue mission, reflected on the challenges faced and the relief of seeing the lions safe in their new environment.

"Getting them out of the conflict zone in Sudan was an emotional rollercoaster and a challenge beyond anything we have done before. Working in a conflict zone means to be well prepared with regard to safety and logistics, but also to always expect the unexpected and be flexible,“ said Khalil.

As the lions step onto the grass of their new home, they symbolise a beacon of hope amidst adversity. Their journey from a war zone to sanctuary serves as a reminder of the resilience of wildlife and the power of compassion to create a better world for all beings.

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