The Lions of Lyon – four lion cubs rescued from horrendous captive conditions in France – have been released at Born Free’s big cat sanctuary and are now starting their new lives in their ancestral home of Africa.
Horus, Dadou, Thea and Cersei, believed to have been taken from their mothers before they were weaned, were each found in in different locations across France. They were kept in captive conditions no animal should ever be subjected to – an apartment, a garage, even a Lamborghini on the Champs-Elysées. No doubt part of Europe's trade in wild animals (from circuses, zoos and private keeping), they were sold illegally to be pets before being rescued by French wildlife charity, Fondation 30 Million d’Amis.
Following a successful appeal launched earlier this year, Born Free will now provide the four stunning cubs with lifetime care at its big cat sanctuary at Shamwari Private Game Reserve, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
The cubs started their journey from Tonga Terre d'Accueil wildlife rescue centre near Lyon, on Thursday 10th October. They travelled under the care of Born Free’s Rescue & Care team to London Heathrow airport for a flight to South Africa. After a short internal flight, Horus, Dadou, Thea and Cersei touched down in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, before travelling the short distance by road to Shamwari and being introduced to their new forever home.
Horus is the largest of the four cubs and is about seven months old. He was found in reasonably good health on a child’s bed in an apartment on the outskirts of Paris. His owner, who was hiding in a neighbour’s cupboard when Horus was found, had posted images of the cub on Snapchat. He was sentenced to six months in prison for illegally keeping a wild animal.
Cersei was found on the same day as Horus in a garage in Marseille. She was very unwell and underweight, with a skin irritation, dull coat, gastrointestinal problems and corneal ulcers. Now thought to be about seven months old, Kuuma has since recovered, but her eyes are being monitored. Her owner has been prosecuted and the case is waiting to go to court.
Dadou was found on Paris’ most famous street – the Champs-Elysées – in the back of a Lamborghini. His owner was caught by police officers taking photos with the cub. Dadou, who is missing the tip of his tail, is also thought to be about seven months old. When he was found, he had weak hind legs, but has now recovered. Dadou’s case is waiting to go to court.
Thea is the smallest and youngest of the cubs, at about five months old. She was surrendered by her owner and was very unwell. She had glaucoma, and was under-developed and underweight, with extreme hair loss and diarrhoea. ‘Girl’ is now doing much better. Her hair has grown back and she is slowly gaining weight. Her court case is ongoing.
All only a few months old, they were taken from their mothers and found in terrible suffering – battling the pain of glaucoma, extreme hair loss, skin irritations and diarrhoea. Shockingly, these cubs discovered in France, were found in captive conditions no animal should ever be subjected to – an apartment, a garage, even a Lamborghini. Selfishly being kept as pets and deprived their life in the wild.
These four little lion cubs desperately need your help. Please help fund the lifetime care of these lions
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