Louga was just a month old when he was sold by the circus which had ‘owned’ him since birth, to another travelling circus in France. Along with three lionesses, Angela, Bellone and Saida, he spent his entire life travelling the country, living in cramped beast wagons, forced to perform unnatural tricks under the bright lights, terrified of the whip and the loud music, and deprived of his freedom.
Although Louga is around 13 years old, he has no mane because his former owner castrated him at a young age, to make him easier to handle and control.
Thankfully, all four lions were surrendered by the circus and moved to a temporary home at Tonga Terre d’Accueil, a rescue centre in Lyon, France. Since then, Louga, Angela, Bellone and Saida have been waiting patiently until we are able to transport them to their forever home at our Big Cat Rescue Centre at Shamwari in South Africa. But unfortunately, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our plans have been significantly delayed, and we are continuing to work to secure the necessary paperwork to move them, once international travel restrictions allow.
Louga is a large lion, and has a feisty personality. He’s definitely the dominant member of this human-made pride of four, and usually instigates play with Angela and Bellone!
Once we are able to take Louga and the lionesses to South Africa, they will receive lifetime care from our specialist team. They will have a large natural enclosure, nutritious food, enrichment, and veterinary care. They will be able to explore their spacious surroundings, or observe from a viewing platform, sleep under a shady tree, socialise with each other or hide in the bushes if they want some privacy.
Thanks in part to the generous public support we have already received, plus funds raised during the coming months, we hope to take them home to Africa early in 2022.
Born Free is committed to preventing animal suffering and protecting threatened species in their natural habitats. We work to end any activities that negatively impact wild animals living in captivity.
Together we can secure a forever future for lions. Please donate today.
Image credits: © Tonga Terre d’Accueil. Artistic representation by Gillie and Marc.