Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Sinbad is a young lion, who lives in Born Free’s Big Cat Sanctuary at Shamwari Wildlife Reserve, in southern South Africa. Here in his ‘bush’ enclosure, bigger than a football pitch, Sinbad can at last enjoy life where he belongs, in Africa.

Sinbad’s story

From photographer’s prop, to a feature in a restaurant, Sinbad eventually ended up in a cramped cage in Bacau Zoo in eastern Romania. The authorities wanted a better life for him but simply did not have the resources.

Beautiful Sinbad was born in 2001 and should be in his prime. But at just 80cm (32”) long and 125kg (20st) in weight he’s half the size of a normal lion, and his teeth are broken and worn.

In the zoo Sinbad was kept on a soil floor, which used to turn into puddles of mud in the wet weather, making his stunning long mane sodden and matted with mud. He gazed bleakly through the rusty wire, or paced back and forth, with only an old log and car tyre for ‘enrichment’.

Wild lions enjoy vast territories in the African savannah, living on their wits and hunting for prey in groups. Imagine little Sinbad’s frustration, cooped up in a tiny cage.


Sinbad enjoying the sun in his new sanctuary

We were determined to help him. We wanted to give this little lion proper food, a new home and loving care for life. Together with our colleagues at APAR1, Born Free rescued Sinbad in July 2007, together with three others from a neighbouring zoo – Jools a 12-year-old lioness and her sons James and Jerry.

Your heart would have warmed to see Sinbad arrive at his new home in Shamwari. The nervous little lion stepped out cautiously from his traveling crate, treading on grass for perhaps the very first time. He looked around him in disbelief, then built up courage and began to gingerly explore his new home, the breeze rippling through his stunning long mane.

Sinbad settled in remarkably quickly at Shamwari. He would never survive in the wild, but at least we can give him a little piece of Africa of his very own. He loves just basking in the sunshine or lying in the shade of the bushes gazing contentedly around him.


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

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