The terrified cub had been smuggled out of Ethiopia and was destined for life in the Middle East as an exotic ‘pet’, trapped in a cage and exploited for selfies.
Thankfully, in 2019, Iman came to live at Ensessa Kotteh – our wildlife rescue, conservation and education centre in Ethiopia, and today she is thriving thanks to the team’s specialist care.
A safe haven for wildlife, Ensessa Kotteh is an oasis of green woodland 30km west of Addis Ababa. Here we care for wild animals in need, those who suffered in captivity or innocent victims of wildlife trade.
Iman’s story isn’t unique. Every year, millions of wild animals are brutally shot, trapped, poisoned and mutilated, or kept in appalling conditions and traded by criminal networks. Of those caught from the wild, many suffer and die in transit before they reach their final destination.
We work with the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) to save wild animals from such a terrible fate.
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Ensessa Kotteh is home to more than 150 animals and over 20 species, including lions, cheetah, hyena and primates.
As the only centre of its kind in Ethiopia, Ensessa Kotteh plays a crucial role in rescuing animals, promoting conservation and working with local communities.
Since opening in 2009, Ensessa Kotteh has helped more than 250 animals – 54 of whom have successfully returned to the wild. Those who would be unable to fend for themselves in the wild are given lifetime sanctuary and dedicated, expert care.
Ensessa Kotteh is on the frontline of the fight against the brutal illegal wildlife trade, working side-by-side with EWCA to provide sanctuary for confiscated animals, as well as those found abandoned, orphaned or injured.