War lion from Syria finally found a companion


FOUR PAWS plans to socialize rescued lions with others in South Africa

BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 10, 2018.  The lonely days of solitude are over for a lion named Saeed, rescued from a Syrian zoo by FOUR PAWS International, the global animal welfare organization. On October 11th, a lioness named Nala moved into the enclosure next to him. Nala comes from an illegal circus breeder in France and was rescued by AAP, Animal Advocacy and Protection. After completing rehabilitation in Spain, the lioness has finally arrived at the FOUR PAWS Big Cat Sanctuary LIONSROCK in South Africa. There she will be paired up with her neighbour Saeed.

Young lions like Saeed and Nala are very social animals who feel most comfortable in the company of other big cats. Due to their similar age, there is a good chance that the socialization process of the two animals will run smoothly.

"We assume that Saeed, who was born in captivity during the war, lived together with other big cats in Syria. He clearly shows signs that he needs company. With his new neighbour, we believe we have found the perfect companion. They now have all the time in the world to get to know each other through the fence. If there is interest on both sides, Saeed and Nala will move into a shared enclosure."

Ioana Dungler, Director of the Wild Animals Department at FOUR PAWS

Two fellow sufferers: Saeed and Nala

In July of 2017, FOUR PAWS rescued Saeed together with twelve other animals from a war-torn zoo near Aleppo. FOUR PAWS first brought the two-year-old lion to Jordan and then finally to its big cat sanctuary LIONSROCK in South Africa in February 2018. A similar fate befell lioness Nala. Animal welfare organisation AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection rescued her in 2017 from the clutches of an illegal breeder for circus animals in France and brought her to its big cat rescue centre 'Primadomus' in Spain.

"Starvation, diseases and bomb explosions: Life has not always been kind to Saeed and Nala. We are happy to give these two lions a better future in South Africa." 

Ioana Dungler, Director of the Wild Animals Department at FOUR PAWS

Fresh start in the 3,000-acre big cat sanctuary LIONSROCK

FOUR PAWS experts at LIONSROCK will closely monitor the two animals' advances. The team at the South African big cat sanctuary has already socialised five pairs of lions and helped another 15 lions join different prides. In doing so, FOUR PAWS also follows a strict, no-breeding policy.

"Approximately 100 rescued big cats live in LIONSROCK. They come to us from zoos, circuses and dubious breeders. Most of them have suffered from terrible keeping conditions. It is our duty to offer these animals a peaceful species-appropriate environment for the rest of their lives, while at the same time, breaking the cycle of breeding in captivity."

Hildegard Pirker, Head of Animal Welfare at LIONSROCK

Bullet Point Version:

    Lion Saeed, rescued from Syria by FOUR PAWS in July 2017, gets a companion in LIONSROCK
    Lioness Nala, rescued from an illegal breeder in France by Stichting AAP in July 2017, moved to the enclosure next to Saeed
    Nala previously lived in AAP’s sanctuary Primadomus in Spain
    Nala was transferred from Spain to South Africa on 10th/11th October 2018 and released on to her enclosure on 11th October
    The plan is to socialise both animals and put them in one enclosure

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Claire LaFrance

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