In 2018, a farmer in the Ukraine reported 4 young lionesses abandoned on his property by a traveling circus. Kept in a solid metal trailer on wheels under horrific conditions, lying in between old bones and their own excrement, no sunlight, no enrichment just utter filth. Sadly, one of the lionesses passed away before they could be rescued.
With no sanctuaries in the Ukraine to house these lions, the decision was made to get them home to South Africa where they could live a more free life, at least out of cages. At first, we were reluctant to take on lions that would have to be kept in a captive environment but when we heard their sad story, we agreed to give these 3 lions sanctuary here at Kragga Kamma Game Park. As they are habituated to humans (but by no means tame) it would be too dangerous to allow them to roam free within KKGP. They might seek out humans, their only providers of food, which could lead to all sorts of complications.
Given their horrendous first years of life in captivity under less than suitable & even cruel conditions, we have made every effort to provide them with a natural as possible environment. Planting mature trees for claw sharpening (and stretching tall) berms to climb up onto & sun themselves on, space to play chase and private corners to seek shelter in. It might not be a given to spot them but it’s not impossible. Lions are most active early and late in the day sleep all day but on cooler days they do tend to come out and play.
It has been such a joy and a privilege to watch these lovely lions improve from the battered skittish & wary creatures they were on arrival to a beautiful, healthy & shiny, and wild pride. Their roars fill the morning & evening air letting us know that we did the right thing for these 3 girls. Sadly, there are many, many more lions being kept in captivity in both the Ukraine and in South Africa. We, as human race, really need to do better.
Please look up BLOOD LIONS for more info.
This project has been generously supported by so many kind and caring people from around the world.
Providing these lions with their place of safety and comfort did not come cheap. Each and every contribution, big & small, put together is what brought the lions home. It certainly 'took a village'!