Vienna/Amman, 15 November 2022 – After two years of meticulous preparations, global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, in joined collaboration with Princess Alia Foundation (PAF), and support of Sudan Animal Rescue (SAR) and Sudanese Wildlife Authority, were finally able to transfer two Sudanese lions – lioness Kandaka and lion Mansour – to receive their special long-term required medical treatment and rehabilitation in Al Ma’wa, Jordan.
At the airport Princess Alia greeted the experienced team of veterinarians and wildlife experts, led by FOUR PAWS Dr Amir Khalil, after a long and arduous transport operation, including the flight from Khartoum to Amman, which they undertook with the two big cats on the same plane.
After a final stretch, Kandaka and Mansour were released into Al Maꞌwa Wildlife Reserve which is located 50 km North of Amman and also inherits other wild animals from war-torn countries such as Syria, Gaza and Iraq.
After a quick check by FOUR PAWS veterinarian Dr Amir Khalil Kandaka and Mansour – who both handled the transport very well, although they were not sedated during the flight– were released in the species appropriate, well medical equipped sanctuary of Al Ma'wa Wildlife Reserve, which is run by PAF together with FOUR PAWS. This now opens the final chapter of their long journey, leaving behind the ordeal in Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo in Khartoum and finally enjoying their new life in serenity.
First steps in their new home
After a long exhausting journey, the two lions could not wait to explore their new surroundings, their paws touching grass for the first time with an instinctive curiosity. Kandaka and Mansour adapted instantly to their new expansive home.
“The future of Kandaka and Mansour is finally certain. I am so glad that we were able to bring the two lions to Jordan where they will receive the medical attention they need. Seeing them easing off into their new species-appropriate home, pays off all the effort. I wish them a peaceful and happy stay and would like to thank all people who supported us. Special thanks go to Princess Alia Foundation, Sudan Animal Rescue and Sudan Wildlife Authority, and to all the colleagues of Al Ma'wa, without their effort this complex operation would not have been possible. I would also like to thank the FOUR PAWS team for not giving up and continuously working to provide the needed medical care to those two lions.”
Dr Amir Khalil, FOUR PAWS veterinarian and mission leader in this rescue from day one
This rescue goes way back to the year 2020 when FOUR PAWS received photos of malnourished and emaciated lions, who were left to starve at Al Qurashi Family Park, a zoo in Khartoum, capitol of Sudan. Due to the economic crisis of the country the zoo´s managers claimed they no longer had the means to look after the animals. It was a local, Osman Salih who started an online campaign to raise awareness for the tragic status of the zoo. The photos of the starving animals circulated the globe and caught the attention of FOUR PAWS who immediately decided to help. They set up an experienced team of veterinarians around Dr Amir Khalil and were granted a permission to enter the country by the Sudanese authorities to provide the animals with urgently needed help.
Due to the long-term starvation irreversible damage was done to their organisms and they therefore need special treatments and monitoring until the rest of their lives.
Due to the unstable political situation in Sudan and the flared-up violence in the Southern part of the country, the team of FOUR PAWS was forced to pause the mission in July 2022.
FOUR PAWS specifically wants to thank Eric S. Margolis, who supported this mission from the very beginning and whose generosity continues to provide the medical support these lions require for the remainder of their lifetime.
Al Maꞌwa for Nature and Wildlife
Since 2009 FOUR PAWS has a partnership with the Princess Alia Foundation (PAF). Together they established in 2011 Al Maꞌwa (meaning: sanctuary) for Nature and Wildlife Reserve which provides a regional solution for rescued wild animals and offers emergency relief to animals from crisis areas in the Middle East. Most of the animals come from illegal private ownership or were abused as visitor attractions in zoos. Including the two new residents, the team of Al Maꞌwa takes care of 54 wild animals including lions, bears, tigers and wolves. FOUR PAWS and PAF also share another project in Jordan, to provide urgent relief for the working horses and donkeys at UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city of Petra.
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