Double lion drama


Born Free helps save two lions in Kenya, despite their life-threatening injuries.

Two images of lions. On the left an injured lion is lying on the ground with blue paint on his wounds. He is being tended to by a veterinary professional. On the right a male lion recovers in the long grass after his anaesthetic.

After a dramatic rescue mission, the lives of two male lions have been saved in Kenya’s Meru National Park, thanks to Born Free supporters and a big team effort. 

Kenya is home to some 2,500 lions and Meru is an important stronghold with at least 60 adults, including ‘lone ranger’ Mfalme and Moja ‘the elder’. Mfalme lives by himself and was recently spotted with deep wounds on his body by our Pride of Meru lion team – funded thanks to YOUR donations. We suspect the lacerations were inflicted by a lesser kudu’s sharp horns – a lion is especially vulnerable to injury when hunting alone. 

Thankfully, a Kenya Wildlife Service vet could successfully treat the injuries and Mfalme was released back into the wild, where he is recovering well. And, despite his ordeal, there is no stopping this indefatigable dark-maned lion. Mfalme – which means ‘King’ in Swahili – is currently trying to win back Elsa Pride, having been ousted by two other males in 2019, then going on to sire six cubs in Mulika Pride. 

Just a few days later, a second lion with life-threatening injuries was rescued in Meru, when Moja was spotted with a wire snare pulled tight around his neck. Our team rushed to the site and the 11-year-old male was tranquilised by a Kenya Wildlife Service vet, so the double-stranded noose could be removed. 

The metal snare – set illegally to trap wild animals as food – had caused a deep and painful injury but, following expert treatment, Mojo was released. Our team has kept a watchful eye and are delighted to report he is healing wonderfully. 

Despite his relative old age, tenacious Moja successfully controls two prides – Virginia and Bisanadi. What a remarkable lion! But, devastatingly, this is the third time in two years that Moja has been snared. Our life-saving work continues to clear Meru of these deadly traps. 

Meru National Park, 220 miles northeast of Nairobi, is the heartland of our charity where, in 1958, Elsa the lioness was successfully returned to the wild. Elsa’s Pride was named in her honour so, if you share our fascination for the intricacies of lion behaviour and want to help keep these majestic big cats safe, please support our Pride of Meru conservation programme. When you adopt Elsa’s Pride today you’ll receive a wonderful gift pack and help monitor, study and protect Meru’s lions.