An update on the lions of lyon


Our four lion cubs are nearly ready to make the 8,000-mile journey from France to South Africa. But how are they getting on?

Over the last three months, you have helped us raise the funds we need to relocate the Lions of Lyon – Horus, Kuuma, Dadou and ‘Girl’ – to a permanent home at our big cat sanctuary in Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Africa, and towards their lifetime care.

All four cubs were rescued from appalling captive conditions, but thanks to your overwhelming compassion and generosity, they will soon live in a safe and spacious environment, free from harm.

The cubs are currently living together in a temporary home in Lyon, France. Here’s an update on each of them.



Horus was found on a child’s bed in an apartment on the outskirts of Paris. He has grown and is in very good health – eating about 2kg of meat (usually chicken or beef) a day.



Kuuma was rescued from a garage in Marseille. When she was found, she had corneal ulcers, but she has recovered well and is now nearly the same size as Dadou! 



Dadou was found in the back of a Lamborghini on the Champs-Elysées. It’s very easy to tell Dadou apart from the other cubs because the tip of his tail is missing. However, this is causing him no trouble and he is in very good health.



Girl was surrendered by her owner. She was very unwell, but we are really pleased with her recovery. Her fur is healthy and she has also grown. As she is the youngest of the cubs, she was the last to move away from a milk diet, but now eats about 1.2kg of meat a day.


Virginia McKenna OBE, Born Free’s Co-Founder & Trustee, recently went to meet the Lions of Lyon. She said: “Meeting the Lions of Lyon was one of the happiest moments for a very, very long time for me. We all know the very sad and difficult stories of these four little lion cubs. They are now waiting to go to Shamwari where they will have the most wonderful, kind, caring and beautiful life – treasured beyond measure.”

Dr Chris Draper, Born Free’s Head of Animal Welfare & Captivity, added: “The cubs are recovering well and, once we have the necessary paperwork, they will soon be moving to a new life in South Africa. These cubs have each had a lucky escape from a cruel trade, and we will be redoubling our efforts to stop the illegal keeping of big cats in Europe.”

There’s still time left to support our Lions of Lyon appeal. And please follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for further updates.