Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Goodbye Stella

Stella with her companion Aslan

We have very sad news to report – Stella was euthanased on 29th December 2011.  Stella is the lioness we rescued from a run-down zoo in northern Greece, in September 2002.  Terrified of humans, she would frantically scrabble at the bars of her barren cage, trying to escape them.

She was rehomed to our sanctuary in Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa and introduced to the magnificent Aslan, living alone since his mate had died the previous year.  Aslan too, had no love of humans but these lions developed a very close bond with each other and were rarely seen more than a few metres apart.  

Earlier this year both turned 22 years old - very elderly for captive lions living in the natural bush environment they enjoyed at Shamwari.  Signs of their increasing age have become more obvious but they both, until recently, still looked well and had healthy appetites. 

Then, in December, Stella started to take longer to come for her food. Quite suddenly, she then started losing condition, and although blood tests didn’t reveal anything significant, it was clear old age was taking its toll and her appetite diminished further and she started to have trouble walking.  It was at this time, based on veterinary advice, that our team at Shamwari and the Born Free Foundation agreed to euthanize Stella.

While the decision was made with heavy hearts, we all knew it was the right one.  We will monitor Aslan very closely to see how he copes without his beloved mate.We send our sincerest condolences to our friends and colleagues at Shamwari.  They have loved and cared for Aslan and Stella for many years, and will continue to care for Aslan and share his loss.  Stella is buried at the Julie Ward Centre.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906


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