RAMADAN & FASIKA
Left: Ramadan and Fasika before they were rescued. Right: The pair at Ensessa Kotteh
In 2023, our team in Ethiopia were contacted by the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) to assist with the urgent rescue of two cheetah cubs that had been confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade. Believed to be around three months old, both were underweight, dehydrated and suffering from internal and external parasites. They were transferred to our wildlife rescue centre, Ensessa Kotteh, in Ethiopia, where they could be given round-the-clock care.
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KAMOGELO, BALOZI, MAHABA, & LEKANYA
Left: Mahaba; Centre: Kamagelo; Top right: Lekanya; Bottom right: Balozi (c) Panthera Africa
Kamogelo, Balozi, Mahaba, and Lekanya are servals that were all being kept as pets in Belgium. Kamogelo and Lekanya was confiscated from separate properties having been kept in poor conditions, Balozi and Mahaba were found wandering Belgian city streets after they had escaped from their owners. All were rehomed by Natuurhulpcentrum, a wildlife rescue centre in Belgium, before we were able to rehome them to natural bush enclosures at the Born Free Rescue Section of Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary, South Africa in 2022. Being a solitary species, each serval lives in their own spacious enclosure.
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Left: Simba when he was first rescued. Right: Simba at the sanctuary
In 2020, a sickly, young lion cub was found in a cardboard box in an abandoned garage near Moscow, Russia. The cub was emaciated and had a nasty skin condition, both a result of severe neglect. Simba was rescued and cared for by the Wild Nature Hospital in Russia, who nursed him back to health. In 2021, Simba was transferred to Natuurhulpcentrum, a wildlife rescue centre in Belgium for temporary housing, while Born Free facilitated a space for him with our partners at Animanatura Wild Sanctuary in Italy. Simba arrived at Animanatura Wild Sanctuary in 2022.
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Left: Simao before he was rescued. Right: Simao on the road to recovery
In 2018, Simao (AKA Simon) the baby chimpanzee was taken from the wild in Guinea-Bissau and sold as a pet. Born Free received a Red Flag report and photos after he was discovered held alone in a small, barren cage. We raised funds and worked with the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance and other organisations to rehome Simao. After several years of negotiations, the Guinea-Bissau authorities granted permission for Simao to leave the country. Simao was given a lifetime sanctuary home at Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection in 2022.
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Left: Dima with a chain still visible around his neck. Right: Dima at Ensessa Kotteh
In 2022, Dima the cheetah was found chained-up in a garden in Ethiopia’s Gambella Region, where he had reportedly been kept for many months. He was being used by his ‘owner’ as a money-making attraction until being rescued and given a new home at Ensessa Kotteh, Born Free’s rescue centre in Ethiopia.
Left: Dehar tied up before his rescue. Right: Dehar safe at Ensessa Kotteh
Six-month-old cheetah, Dehar, was confiscated from wildlife traffickers by the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority in 2021. Born Free’s team undertook a complicated six-day round trip across Ethiopia to bring little Dehar to safety at our wildlife rescue centre, Ensessa Kotteh. When collected, he was found to be malnourished, dehydrated, and had an old injury to his leg.
Sisay is now safe at Ensessa Kotteh
In 2021, the Born Free team were alerted to the plight of a young cheetah being held by an illegal wildlife trader in the city of Jijiga, Ethiopia. Sisay had been acquired by the trader, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he had been unable to sell her. She was being kept in very poor conditions, tethered by a short leash, and fed a substandard diet. She also had head and neck wounds, which were treated by our vet, before being transported to Ensessa Kotteh, Born Free’s wildlife rescue centre.
VERVET MONKEY TROOP
In 2020, a troop of 20 vervet monkeys, rescued and rehabilitated by the Born Free-supported Game Rangers International – Zambia Primate Project (ZPP), were successfully released into the wild. The monkeys were all previously being kept illegally as pets. ZPP ensures that all primates destined for potential release are carefully prepared for life in the wild and are closely monitored after release.
Left: Iman when discovered (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund Right: Iman safe at Ensessa Kotteh (c) Born Free
Lion cub, Iman, was orphaned and destined to be sold. In 2019, she was confiscated by police at the Somaliland/Ethiopia border. She was rescued and given a lifetime home at Ensessa Kotteh, our wildlife rescue, conservation and education centre in Ethiopia.
CERSEI, HORUS, DADOU AND THEA
Left: The lions before their move to South Africa. Right: The lions at Shamwari
Fondly known as the ‘Lions of Lyon’, Cersei, Horus, Dadou and Thea, were rehomed at our Big Cat Sanctuary at Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Africa in 2019. Rescued as cubs, they had all previously been kept illegally as pets in various locations around Paris, France.
FIND OUT MORE
Left: King when he was discovered in Paris (c) Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis Right: King at Shamwari
King was rescued from an apartment on the outskirts of Paris in 2017. Just a cub at the time, King was being kept illegally as a ‘pet’ in a small, dirty cage and had been beaten and kicked by his owner. The French authorities seized King, with help from NGOs Fondation 30 Million d’Amis and Refuge de l’Arche. He was taken to Natuurhulpcentrum, a wildlife rescue centre in Belgium, where he was cared for before Born Free gave him a new home at our Big Cat Sanctuary at Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Africa in July 2018.
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In 2018, Aradha the gelada arrived at our wildlife rescue centre, Ensessa Kotteh, in Ethiopia. Originally captured from the wild, she had been tethered by a rope around her neck and kept as a pet with only humans for company. After receiving medical care, Aradha was gradually introduced to the Centre’s resident group of geladas.
Left Ciam before his arrival at Shamwari. Right: Ciam back ‘home’ in Africa
Ciam made international headlines in 2015 when he was confiscated from a cage in a garden in southern France. Kept illegally as pet, Ciam had reportedly lived in the cage for seven months after his owner received him from a friend who worked in a circus. Ciam was rescued by the French animal rescue NGO, Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis and cared for at Natuurhulpcentrum, a wildlife rescue centre in Belgium. Born Free gave Ciam a new home at our Big Cat Sanctuary at Shamwari Private Game Reserve in South Africa in 2017.
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BELLA & BUDALOO
Left: Bella, chained-up and captive. Right: Budaloo at Ensessa Kotteh (c) Born Free
Grivet monkeys, Bella and Budaloo, had both been illegally kept in private ownership in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Bella was tethered by a short chain attached to a log while Budaloo was confiscated by local police after they saw him being led down the street on a leash. Bella and Budaloo both came to Ensessa Kotteh our wildlife rescue, conservation and education centre, Ethiopia in 2017, where they were gradually introduced to the Centre’s ‘troop’ of grivets.
Left: Wadera when first rescued (c) Tiffanie Meekins, Right: Wadera after his rehabilitation (c) Born Free
Wadera the serval was just five months old when he was rescued by our team at Ensessa Kotteh, Ethiopia in 2016. He had been illegally captured from the forest near Goji, Wadera and sold into the exotic pet trade. The Oromia Forestry and Wildlife Enterprise knew of Born Free’s work and contacted us after the man who captured Wadera had tried to sell him to them. After a period of medical treatment and rehabilitation, he was returned to the wild.
KERA & ADDI
Kera when rescued by our team in Ethiopia (c) Born Free
In 2016, two young gelada baboons, Kera and Addi, were rescued by our team at Ensessa Kotteh, Ethiopia. They were discovered by the roadside wearing collars and leashes. Kera had been held as a pet for over seven months, while Addi was being held temporarily by those trying to sell her. Both Kera and Addi’s skin had been rubbed raw and hairless by their collars. They were dehydrated and terrified. Kera and Addi were nursed back to health and gradually introduced to the Centre’s resident group of geladas.
Solomon (c) Tiffanie Meekins
Solomon, an adult male grivet monkey, had been kept as a pet in Ethiopia. He was found wandering alone, wearing a collar with a rope leash attached. When primates grow too big and aggressive to be kept as pets, they are often released to fend for themselves. He was rescued by our team and taken to our wildlife rescue centre, Ensessa Kotteh, to recover. He was gradually introduced to our resident grivet group.
Left: Sekota when rescued. Right: Sekota on the road to recovery (c) Born Free
Sekota the caracal was captured from the wild by a local man in northern Ethiopia, who planned to sell him as a pet. In 2013, the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism heard about Sekota and went to investigate. With the help of local police, Sekota was seized, and the man jailed. He was rescued by our team in Ethiopia and taken to Ensessa Kotteh, our wildlife rescue centre. After some treatment and having gained some weight, he was returned to the wild.
Koti the baboon
In 2013, Koti, a young female baboon was discovered tied to a fence in the eastern suburbs of Addis Ababa. The ‘owner’ was nowhere to be found. Born Free rescued her and rehomed her at Ensessa Kotteh, our wildlife rescue centre in Ethiopia.
Left: Matama when discovered. Right: Matama – healthy and happy
Matama, an orphaned spotted hyena cub was thought to be destined for sale across the Ethiopian border to Sudan, when he was discovered being kept by a man. In 2013, the police were informed then Matama was seized and taken to our Ensessa Kotteh wildlife rescue centre, Ethiopia. Sadly, Matama could not be returned to the wild but was given a lifetime home with other rescued hyena.
Left: Leopard tortoises when rescued. Right: The tortoises at Ensessa Kotteh
In 2013, Born Free’s team in Ethiopia rescued thirty giant leopard tortoises who had been captured from the wild for the exotic pet trade. They were rehabilitated and released into the grounds of our wildlife rescue centre, Ensessa Kotteh, in Ethiopia where they enjoy life as natural “lawnmowers”.
DEMBER & LAKOTA
Left: Kakota. Right: Dember
In 2012, cheetah brother and sister, Dember and Lakota, were rescued from the illegal wildlife trade in Somaliland. At only five months of age, the pair had been caught from the wild to be sold as pets. Born Free was able to offer them a lifetime home at our wildlife rescue centre, Ensessa Kotteh, in Ethiopia.
SARA, MEDINA, MINI & COCOA
Left: Sara before her rescue. Right. Sara and Medina playing on the beach
In 2011, Born Free helped rescue four baby chimpanzees, Sara, Medina, Mini and Cocoa, who were being sold as pets in South Sudan. They were rehomed to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda.
Cody, a magnificent eagle owl, was being kept as a pet. He was rescued in 2011 and rehomed at Ensessa Kotteh, our wildlife rescue centre in Ethiopia.
Left: Dolo when rescued (c) Sisay Taye. Right: Dolo at Ensessa Kotteh (c) George Logan
Dolo the lion was kept on a one metre chain for the first four years of his life, when he was discovered in a wooden shack in Ethiopia. He was emaciated and his mane had almost completely been rubbed away by the chain. In 2011, after being moved to a temporary place of safety, Born Free gave Dolo a new home at our wildlife rescue centre in Ethiopia, Ensessa Kotteh, where he was later introduced to rescued lioness Safia (see Safia’s story below).
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Left: Safia when discovered. Right: Safia at the sanctuary
In 2010, Safia was found being kept illegally by an individual. She was just a cub at the time. She was found chained in a wooden shack in a village in Ethiopia. Safia was rescued and given a new home at Ensessa Kotteh, our wildlife rescue centre in Ethiopia, where she was eventually introduced to rescued lion Dolo (see Dolo’s story above).
MARINA & SARNIA
Left: Marina and Sarnia when first rescued. Right: Marina, Sarnia and Brutus at Shamwari
Lion cubs, Marina and Sarnia, were privately owned lion cubs who had been abandoned in Romania. In 2008, Born Free rescued them and gave them a new home at our Big Cat Sanctuary at Shamwari Private Game Reserve in South Africa. They were later introduced to rescued circus lion Brutus.
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Left: Menelik when discovered (c) Guy Calaf. Right: Menelik at Ensessa Kotteh
In 2008, Menelik the cheetah cub was found tied by a short rope to a table in Ethiopia. He was sickly and thin when he was rescued and rehomed at Ensessa Kotteh, our wildlife rescue centre in Ethiopia.
ACHEE & MA JUAH
Left: Ma Juah before arriving at Shamwari. Right: Achee and Ma Juah
In 2004, Born Free rescued lionesses Achee from a snowy car park in Romania, and Ma Juah from a concrete pit in Liberia. The two became close friends and for many years shared an enclosure at our Big Cat Sanctuary at Shamwari Private Game Reserve in South Africa. Following Ma Juah’s death in 2015, Achee was introduced to rescued zoo lion Sinbad.
Left: Kuma at the zoo. Right: Kuma at Shamwari
Kuma the leopard was sold as a pet after his mother was killed by poachers in the Ivory Coast. He was then kept at Abidjan Zoo until his behaviour was deemed ‘unpredictable’. In 1999, Born Free rehomed Kuma at our Big Cat Sanctuary at Shamwari Private Game Reserve in South Africa.
Left: Roque when rescued (c) Sunday Mirror. Right: Roque in India
In 1998, Roque the tiger cub was rescued from a pet shop in Spain, following a large undercover investigation to expose the unregulated pet trade in Europe. After a stint at a UK sanctuary, Roque was relocated to Bannerghatta Tiger Sanctuary, India, in 2002.
ANTHEA, RAFFI & RIKKI
Anthia and Raffi before and after rescue. Rikki, before and after rescue
In 1995, Born Free rescued lions Anthea and Raffi from a tiny cage on the roof of a Tenerife restaurant. In 1996, we also rescued Rikki the leopard from the same location. They were all brought to a UK sanctuary before being relocated to our Big Cat Sanctuary at Shamwari Private Game Reserve in South Africa.