11 October 2022


To commemorate our special Year of the Lion, Born Free has launched an urgent public appeal to raise funds to save lives and stop suffering.

Across the world, lions are being ruthlessly exploited and desperately need support. So, today our wildlife charity has launched an urgent global appeal to save the symbol of Born Free.

images of Tarikwa and King as cubsLions like Tarikwa – a tiny, fragile lion cub who lay alone on the straw, barely moving. Tarikwa was so young her coat still had spots, so malnourished her bones were weak, and one leg broken. She should have been safe and protected with her wild family, but Tarikwa was a victim of Ethiopia’s illegal wildlife trade, torn from her mother’s side to be sold as a ‘pet’. Only a baby, her life hung in the balance at our Ensessa Kotteh rescue centre.

Many supporters will remember King, the one-year-old lion cub rescued from an apartment in Paris four years ago, where he was being kept illegally as an ‘exotic pet’ in truly appalling conditions. Beaten and neglected, his start in life was horrific. Expert love and care gave King a chance and today, following a successful relocation to his ancestral homeland, Born Free continues to provide this mighty lion with lifetime care at our Big Cat Rescue Centre at Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Africa. But King’s story doesn’t end there as the challenging times we live in mean Born Free now needs even more support to provide the expert care he needs, alongside all the other 27 rescued lions our charity currently looks after.

Born Free’s new appeal is raising funds to rescue and rehabilitate lions like Tarikwa and King, to campaign for the highest standards of wild animal welfare around the world and end the trade in big cats as ‘exotic pets’, and to fight to end captive exploitation.

Tragically, little Tarikwa the orphan lion cub did not survive despite our team’s expert and loving care. New x-rays revealed she had a spinal fracture, related to low bone density due to the poor diet she received before we rescued her. So, despite our best efforts, Tarikwa had to be lovingly and so gently put to sleep by our vet, Dr Sisay. She had only been in our care a few months, but she had touched all our hearts. In her memory, our charity is determined to do everything we can to end lion exploitation. At Born Free, every single lion matters, however small, however brief their life. We appeal to supporters and the general public to do everything we can, together, to save lions.

You can help

You can support our Saving Lions Together appeal. Any gift you send could help secure a safer future for lions. We pledge that Born Free’s Year of the Lion will be a turning point, one that heralds a brighter future for lions forever.