FOUR PAWS Rescues 48 Wild Animals, Including A Group Of Lions From War-Torn City In Sudan

In November 2023, global animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS evacuated 48 wild animals from a major conflict zone in Sudan’s capital city of Khartoum. After fighting broke out in a designated safe area near Wad Madani, Four Paws decided to step in to save the animals.

Eleven lions that were rescued from the war-torn city have been transferred to LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. The lions spent nine months surrounded by the tragic effects of war. They are traumatized, weak, emaciated, and prone to injury. They have thankfully responded positively to the treatment and care they have received in the last few weeks. At LIONSROCK, they will receive specialized care tailored to their needs and finally be able to recover in peace.

After a FOUR PAWS team that is experienced in working in conflict zones safely rescued the lions from Sudan in January, they have been cared for and are receiving treatments at Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife, a cooperation project of FOUR PAWS in Jordan. Due to their critical health conditions and urgent need for treatment and monitoring, the other rescued animals, including three lions, four hyenas, and a serval have found a long-term home there.

Once all of the logistics and paperwork were ready, the lions were flown to South Africa. The team at LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary prepared four interconnected enclosures for the group of new arrivals, which will allow their monitoring and grouping according to their gender and behavior.

All FOUR PAWS sanctuaries have a strict no-breeding policy, therefore the male lions will be fixed as soon as possible. The priority of the team is to provide the lions with all the care that they need to help them recover.

“We are glad that the tireless efforts of the FOUR PAWS team, with the support of the Sudanese authorities and our global network, paid off. These eleven lions are ambassadors for hope, and they symbolize a need for change in how humans treat animals. Sadly, more and more conflicts arise all around the world causing humanitarian crises, but also posing a threat to captive animals dependent on human care,” said Josef Pfabigan, CEO and President of FOUR PAWS.

“We work globally not only to rescue wild animals from cruel and dangerous conditions, but also to prevent their suffering in the first place. As we see the lions step on the grass in their new home after being stuck in the middle of a conflict zone for months, we are dedicated to care for and protect them for the rest of their lives,” continued Pfabigan. “They will hear no more sounds of fighting or witness suffering among each other, but enjoy the natural surroundings of our South African sanctuary.”

“We are incredibly relieved to see the lions safe at LIONSROCK. Getting them out of the conflict zone in Sudan was an emotional rollercoaster and a challenge beyond anything we have done before. Working in a conflict zone means to be well prepared with regard to safety and logistics, but also to always expect the unexpected and be flexible. We have now handed over the lions into the excellent care of our colleagues at LIONSROCK, who will make sure that the animals can finally get some rest, peace, and proper care,” said FOUR PAWS veterinarian Dr. Amir Khalil, who led the FOUR PAWS team in Sudan.

LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary is one of the 13 wild animal sanctuaries and cooperation projects established by FOUR PAWS worldwide. It is currently home to over 100 rescued big cats, including lions, tigers, and leopards. They were rescued from private keeping, circuses, zoos, and conflict zones all across the globe. The sanctuary encompasses a total area of 1,250 hectares. The land is also inhabited by other native South African species that live freely on the property, including zebras and antelopes, as well as a wide variety of bird species that have found refuge on the property.

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