Tribute to Andrea

Born Free is heartbroken to have to say goodbye to Andrea, one of our beloved rescued lions, after many years of loving care at our centre in Ethiopia.

A beautiful male lion lying in long grass

Born Free is saddened to share the news that Andrea, a beautiful mature male lion cared for at our Ensessa Kotteh rescue centre in Ethiopia, recently passed away. Whilst Andrea was elderly, he had been in good general health, so his death was somewhat unexpected. 

Fondly known as the ‘Italian Lions’, Andrea and his brother Janu were thought to be around five years old when they were first arrived at Ensessa Kotteh, in 2011. They were originally rescued as orphaned cubs by an Italian organisation based in Ethiopia, having been found for sale by wildlife traders on the side of a road. After being taken in by the Italian Embassy in Addis Ababa, the brothers were then given a temporary home at the Presidential Palace, their care supported by Born Free while we constructed a spacious enclosure at Ensessa Kotteh. The lions were transferred to this natural habitat lifetime home on the 1st November 2011, at the same time as two other male lions, Major and General, rescued from an army barracks in Ethiopia.

It was wonderful to see how the affectionate brothers clearly relished their tranquil new home. Cherished by all, Andrea was a real character, with a strong personality – known by our Ensessa Kotteh team as ‘the tree climber’. When food enrichment was hidden in the trees or undergrowth around their enclosure, Andrea would enthusiastically and actively seek it out. Janu was always more relaxed and let Andrea do the hard work, but then join him for the tasty reward!

Andrea and his brother always had such a close bond and our team has been keeping an especially careful eye out for Janu. However, we are thankful he appears to have coped quite well with losing his brother, despite being unusually quiet for a few days after Andrea died. We are thankful he is feeding well and is back joining our other rescued lions in their morning communal roar.

Andrea will be missed by us all, especially our Ensessa Kotteh team who did such a wonderful job caring for him. Rest peacefully dearest Andrea. We will never forget you.

Find out more

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Ensessa Kotteh

Ensessa Kotteh is a 190-acre sanctuary in Ethiopia, which houses wild animals in need – orphaned or confiscated from illegal trade or ownership.
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Wildlife Trade

Born Free calls for immediate - and lasting - action to save imperilled species