The story of Nathan & the 3 lionesses, Luca, Charlie & Kai.
NATHAN - rescued by Lionel de Lange, Director of The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization - Ukraine from an evil animal trader and animal circus trainer in Ukraine. Nathan and his sister were taken from their parents at about 2 months old and were to be sold to a circus, private zoo or even as a pet. Fortunately, we were able to get Nathan out but his sister mysteriously disappeared, probably sold to one of the aforementioned places.
Nathan was then dumped in a concrete and steel cage of +/-15m², he was never able to explore, go outside, or even just enjoy the simple pleasure of lazing in the sun! Lionel and his team have built a temporary enclosure for him to explore until we start with the relocation. Nathan is coming back to South Africa to live his life outside, freely and just be all he needs to be….. a lion.
LUCA, CHARLIE & KAI – Were found when Lionel was doing a 3 brown bear rescue and relocation from a privately owned zoo (if you can even call it that) in Sambir, Ukraine. The bears were relocated to a bear sanctuary in Synevir in the Carpathian Mountains. However, Lionel could not leave the 3 lionesses to live in the squalid conditions they were in. Their enclosure was only 35m² of concrete and steel cage. No direct sunlight, no fresh air, no enrichment, just filth. He managed to negotiate and secure their release into his care. He was able to raise some funds and build them a temporary enclosure while prepping them for their trip to their forever home in South Africa. They are loving their temporary enclosure spend lots of time playing with the enrichment, stalking each other and lazing in the sun. Its their first chance in life to be lions and it was amazing to see the change in them from being caged to having the run of a 280m² enclosure.
All the lions have been vaccinated, chipped and documented in accordance with CITES and are we now waiting CITES export certificate which should be soon, then we apply for CITES import in South Africa and when that is granted which should be about the 1st of 2nd week of October, they will fly HOME.
All 4 are being relocated to the Kragga Kamma Game Park in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa where they will be homed in a very large roam free enclosure.
Our lions are safe and sound, healthy and doing well at the Kragga Kamma Game Park in Port Elizabeth.
The trip, 13 hours by road from Sambir to Kiev Borispol airport, 3 flights, 2 of which were with Turkish Cargo from Kiev to OR Tambo in Johannesburg and then 2 private aircraft from Rand Airport to a private grass airstrip in Seaview, PE. Total travel time for the lions was 76 hours, from the time we crated them until we lay them down in their night shelters at Kragga Kamma Game Park.
Nathan (soon to be King of KKGP) traveled well but we had some serious problems with Charlie which entailed a bit of roadside surgery and care but we got them through vet health inspection and customs in Kiev. It was very stressful for the lions but also for myself, Anya and our vet Misha because we had no idea as to how they would travel after the road trip which was extremely difficult and cold, -7C.
Now they are doing very well, healing up nicely and enjoying their new forever home. Charlie is still limping from her surgery but all the lions are loving the open space, grass, trees, sun and even the inquisitive giraffe and zebra that paid them a visit this morning.
None of this could have been accomplished without your support and trust in me with your money to get the lions to South Africa.
I would like to THANK all of you personally for your support and donations but it would be difficult on FB. But I must thank Ayesha and Michael Cantor for immediately agreeing to take the lions and for building them an impressive enclosure. We will miss Charlie, Kai and Luca very much but mostly Nathan with whom many of us has formed a special bond. He was torn away from his mother at only a few days old and has relied on us to care for him and make sure he is and stays safe and healthy. It was a difficult year caring for them and getting everything in place to get them home but WE DID IT.
We can now leave South Africa and go back to Ukraine to rescue bears and lions (6 waiting for us) feeling happy that our lions are safe in the very capable hands of Ayesha and Michael Cantor, their family and staff at Kragga Kamma Game Park.
For us to continue to do this work we need your HELP to HELP the abused wild animals of Ukraine.
Watch this space as we are already prepping to bring 7 lions to South Africa from even more worse conditions than these four..............