Lions of Lockdown: Six months on

11 August 2022


Born Free is delighted that our four lions, rescued from a circus in France, are clearly (and loudly!) flourishing at our sanctuary in South Africa.

Four lions relaxing at Shamwari

With your support and following a major fundraising appeal, the Lions of Lockdown arrived six months ago at their lifetime home in South Africa, having spent two years at a halfway house in France and the previous decade forced to perform in a circus. After a two-day, 8,000-mile journey the four – castrated male Louga and three females Angela, Saida and Bellone – darted out of their travelling crates to explore their three-acre, tree-filled enclosure.

Half a year since arriving, it does your heart good to see the lions so settled, lavished with loving care and enjoying enriched lives in their ancestral homeland. “The lions look so relaxed and at home, as if they have been here for much longer,” explains Glen Vena, our Animal Care Manager at Shamwari. “It is always amazing to see animals transform here. Every day is different and hearing the Lions of Lockdown roar in response to the sound of wild lions which sometimes pass is a great sight to see.

“For myself and my small team this job of caring for the lions here has become a passion and is a privilege. We are all proud to be making a difference to these lions’ lives. We also thank everyone who is assisting Born Free with the lifetime care of our cats here. Without your support we would not be able to do what we do. Thank you.”

Glen continues: “Our cats are doing very well and seeing them now behave in ways they never had the opportunity to when kept at the circus is just amazing. We see them patrolling their area – some of the trees have been clawed and enjoyed so much by our dear lions that their claw marks are visible on them – they make sure they leave a mark for the next cat passing by! They do this to show that this spot has been claimed already. It is amazing to see them displaying this behaviour which they would do in the wild.”


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