August update on the lions of lyon


As final preparations are made for their journey to Shamwari, Horus, Cersei, Dadou and Thea continue to thrive…

Can you believe this picture was taken less than six months ago?

We have been working hard to finalise the necessary permits and paperwork for the cubs’ relocation from France to South Africa. As you can imagine, the logistics involved in arranging a move on this scale take time, but the team are hopeful that in just a few weeks, thanks to your generous support, they will be settling in to their new home at our big cat sanctuary at Shamwari Private Game Reserve.

Since our last update, the cubs have continued to grow and become more confident and the two girls have been given new names! But what else has been happening for the fab four?



Horus is growing fast and he’s by far the biggest of the cubs – in fact he is a bit of a bruiser! His purpose-built travelling crate for the journey to South Africa is bigger than the other three, to ensure that he is comfortable and safe.



Cersei (the cub formerly known as Kuuma) is the most playful of the group with a cheeky personality and bundles of energy. There are no signs of the skin problems she suffered with when we first met her – her coat has grown beautifully thick and healthy.



Dadou has been calm and relaxed since day one and he remains the peace-keeper of the group. His back legs, which were weak and underdeveloped have returned to full strength thanks to a nutritious diet and proper exercise. 



Perhaps the most dramatic transformation, little Thea (formerly Girl) is nearly the same size as Cersei and Dadou! As well as growing in stature, she’s also grown in confidence, and she has integrated really well with the other cubs.


Born Free’s Animal Rescue and Care Manager, Maggie Balaskas, explains: “We are so grateful to everyone who has supported the Lions of Lyon appeal. The transformation of Horus, Cersei, Dadou and Thea in the space of just a couple of months is incredible. 

“Preparations for the move are coming along well. Individual transport crates have been built for each cub – a lot of care is taken to ensure they are safe and secure and also meet all the appropriate regulations. The team currently caring for the cubs will put the crates into their enclosures in the weeks before the move to allow them to become familiar with how it looks, feels and smells.

“Born Free is planning to relocate an unprecedented eight lions by the end of this year, including the four cubs in France, and so the amount of work involved behind the scenes is huge. With many different components and people involved from all over the world, timings are really important. However, we are confident that we will be ready to move the Lions of Lyon to Shamwari before the end of October.”