From lyon to south africa


We’re preparing to move the Lions of Lyon to their new home in South Africa. How will they make the near-8,000 mile journey?

The Lions of Lyon are all survivors of the exotic pet trade, and with your help we want to give them a lifetime home at our Jean Byrd big cat sanctuary in Shamwari Private Game Reserve, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

But South Africa is a long way from France – how are we planning to get Horus, Kuuma, Dadou and ‘Girl’ there?

We’re currently working on securing all the necessary paperwork and transport logistics needed to move the cubs. Once everything is in place, the Lions of Lyon will be ready for their near-8,000 mile journey from France to South Africa. 

At their temporary home in Lyon, the cubs will all be carefully prepared for the move. Born Free’s expert relocation team will place each cub in their own custom-built crate and transport them by road to the airport, where they will fly to Africa. Touching down in South Africa, they will board a short, internal flight to Port Elizabeth, before travelling the short distance by road to Shamwari.

When the cubs have arrived safely at Shamwari, they will soon be introduced to their new home – a large, natural enclosure with dense undergrowth, shady trees and grassy areas, surrounded by the beautiful sights and sounds of Africa.

Travelling with the Lions of Lyon every step of the way will be our rescue team who will monitor their health during their journey and help ensure a smooth transition at the various customs check points.

Maggie Balaskas, Born Free’s Animal Rescue & Care Manager, will be on the team. Maggie made a similar journey last year when we relocated King from Belgium to Shamwari – and had the honour of opening King’s travelling crate to introduce him to his new home.

“Preparing to transport wild animals internationally is a huge undertaking, especially when they are going to travel such great distances,” she says. 

“Such journeys can also be unsettling and stressful for the animals involved. We will take every precaution to ensure the cubs’ welfare and safety is paramount thought the journey – as they make their way from France to South Africa, where an amazing new life awaits them at Shamwari.”