Eleven Lions Airlifted from Ukraine in Biggest Ever Warzone Rescue

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KEENESBURG, Colo., Oct. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Nine lions rescued from the war-torn country of Ukraine arrived safely in Colorado at The Wild Animal Sanctuary Thursday, September 29th, 2022, as part of the largest warzone rescue of lions ever carried out.

One of the lions rescued from the Bio Park Zoo in Odessa, Ukraine.

The pride of lions had been living at the Bio Park Zoo in Odessa, a southern port in Ukraine impacted by the Russian-Ukraine war and invading Russian military forces. The big cats were urgently relocated when the war first broke by a convoy that journeyed over 600 miles across Ukraine and Moldova, arriving in Targu Mures, Romania, on May 24th, 2022. The Targu Mures Zoo provided a temporary home for the animals for several months so that an emergency travel permit could be approved for the eleven lions to board an international rescue flight. From the rescued group of big cats, seven adult lions and two cubs have a new forever home at The Wild Animal Refuge, an extension property of The Wild Animal Sanctuary, with the remaining two lions traveling to the Simbonga Game Reserve and Sanctuary in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

The rescue mission involved a consortium of global Animal Welfare Agencies working together, including Greater Good, The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), Tigers in America – as well as Warriors of Wildlife, and the Simbonga Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa. “International rescue operations are almost always more complex in nature, but then you are factoring in a variety of foreign governments and timelines for permitting, some of those with active warzones. We are thankful we could get all the lions out in time and save them. That’s what matters. They will live out the rest of their lives in pristine, large, natural habitats,” said Pat Craig, Executive Director of The Wild Animal Sanctuary.

About The Wild Animal Sanctuary:

Located near Keenesburg, Colorado, The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the largest nonprofit carnivore sanctuary in the world, with over 650 rescued animals, including lions, tigers, bears, wolves, leopards, and other large carnivores living in large-acreage natural habitats. Established in 1980, the Sanctuary operates three locations with more than 10,000 acres for abused, abandoned, and confiscated carnivores and specializes in rehabilitating captive wildlife so they can be released into natural habitats where they can roam freely and live with others of their own kind. More information is available at www.wildanimalsanctuary.org, www.wildanimalrefuge.org, www.wildanimalsanctuarytexas.org.

About Greater Good Charities:

Greater Good Charities is a 501(c)(3) global nonprofit organization that works to help people, pets, and the planet by mobilizing in response to need and amplifying the good. Greater Good Charities, with a 100/100 rating on Charity Navigator, has provided more than $475 million in impact, including cash grants, in-kind supplies, and programmatic support, to charitable partners in 121 countries since 2007. To learn more about how Greater Good Charities amplifies the good across the globe, please visit greatergood.org or contact [email protected]

About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries:

Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the sole purpose of strengthening and supporting the work of animal sanctuaries, rescues, and rehabilitation centers worldwide. The goal of GFAS in working with and assisting these animal care facilities is to ensure they are supported, honored, recognized and rewarded for meeting important criteria in providing care to the animals in residence. GFAS was founded in 2007 by animal protection leaders from a number of different organizations in response to virtually unchecked and often hidden exploitation of animals for human entertainment and financial profit. www.sanctuaryfederation.org.

About Tigers in America:

Tigers in America (TIA) is a nationwide, all-volunteer organization that operates from New York City. It has recently expanded its mission to accommodate the surrender or seizure of all big cats, including lions, leopards, mountain lions, cheetahs, and jaguars, in addition to tigers.

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SOURCE The Wild Animal Sanctuary

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