Animal welfare organisation, FOUR PAWS, yesterday took over ten lions from provincial authorities after a compliance notice was issued to relocate the lions from a Gauteng breeding facility. The ten lions were moved to the FOUR PAWS Big Cat Sanctuary, LIONSROCK, where they can live together as the biggest pride in the True Sanctuary and were released this morning.
They are named the #GoldenPride. There are three males called Kali, Rudo and Sandile and seven females called Kimi, Dandi, Sarafina, Sihle, Zuri, Zendaya and Khaya.
FOUR PAWS was previously requested by the authorities to assess the lions, as they found that the breeding facility did not comply with fencing and various other permit requirements and continued to breed with the lions despite warnings to the contrary. A total of 15 lions were kept in small camps.
The facility was given various chances to comply with permit regulations by authorities, but to no avail. Objections by the owners of the lions to the notice were made but these were overturned and the final decision to remove all animals and issue no more permits for keeping of big cats was made earlier this year.
Fiona Miles, Director of FOUR PAWS in South Africa, says, the animal welfare organisation was able to rescue the lions of different ages from the inappropriate keeping conditions and bring them to their species-appropriate forever home in the Eastern Free State. The lions are primarily related and part of a group of fifteen. The other five lions will be relocated to another facility.
Miles says: “We can’t wait to see the #GoldenPride play and have fun in their new home and are grateful that we were able to make this new start possible for the young lions.”
Says Miles: “These cases show how difficult it is to monitor compliance in the captive lion breeding industry and how urgent it is to bring an end to breeding facilities such as these. It is commendable that South Africa has taken the first steps to committing to the phasing out of the captive lion breeding industry as we know it. We are hopeful that the establishment of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s Lion Task Team will be the next step in creating a concrete process to end the captive breeding of lions.”
Should this solution not have been found, the authorities would have had to euthanise the animals. The facility from where the lions were relocated from will not be issued again with permits to keep lions but will not close as it has several other onsite attractions.
The authorities took responsibility for the payment of transport and veterinary costs. A call will be made by FOUR PAWS to supporters for extra assistance as LIONSROCK will need ongoing support for the feeding and balanced diet of these animals.
The ten lions were transported in transport crates and taken via road transport to LIONSROCK and released one by one into their enclosures. The females have received contraceptive implants. Being a True Sanctuary for big cats, there is no breeding at LIONSROCK, no interaction between visitors and big cats and no trading of animals for profit.
“By relocating the #GoldenPride we are one step closer to #BreakTheViciousCycle of big cat exploitation. Our recent public opinion survey demonstrates that 81% of the polled respondents prefer to see big cats in the wild as opposed to in captivity and believe these animals should not be traded for profit or bred for commercial purposes,” says Miles. /END
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org.za