Breaking! Two Rescued Lions From War-Torn Iraq & Syria Arrive Safely At New Home In South Africa

Simba was released into his new adaptive enclosure at Lionsrock in Bethlehem, South Africa today. Photos by Daniel Born for Four Paws.

Monday marked the highly-anticipated arrival in South Africa of two lions that had been rescued from two deplorable zoos, located deep in the war zones of Mosul, Iraq and Aleppo, Syria, last year by Four Paws International.

According to the organization, the male lions, 4-year-old Simba and 2-year-old Saeed, were quite the cooperative passengers on the Qatar Airways flight that left their refuge in Jordan on Sunday and brought them to their new home in South Africa.

“There was no sedation needed for the two rescued lions, thanks to the great training of the animal caretakers and our partner sanctuary Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife, the organization posted on its Facebook page.

The lions have since been successfully transported to LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary & Lodge where they will live the rest of their lives in peace.

As per Four Paws, Simba was born in the Montazah Al-Morour Zoo in Eastern Mosul in Iraq, in 2014 during the war. He and a bear named Lula were rescued by Four Paws and subsequently taken to Al Ma’wa in Jordan in April 2017.

Saeed was born in the Magic World Zoo near Aleppo in Syria in 2016 and was one of 13 animals the organization rescued in July 2017. He was transferred to Al Ma’wa in August 2017.

Emancipated, dehydrated and traumatized when rescued, the now healthy animals share their new home at the sanctuary with 80 other lions that have been rescued from circuses and zoos throughout the world, as well as many that have been spared from what would have been not only their life but their death at South African captive-bred lion operations.

On the Four Paws website, the organizations share that they plan to socialize the new male resident lions with lionesses in the beautiful sanctuary “where they can enjoy their lives under the African sun.”

You can donate to the transport and continued care of Simba and Saeed HERE!

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