The Canterbury Hub

Latest news from CCCU's Journalism course

News

Big Cat Sanctuary to bring 5 lions to Kent

The Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden near Ashford is appealing for donations to rescue five African lions from Ukraine.

The sanctuary has currently raised more than £50,000 with a target of £500,000.

They have called it their biggest and most important project that they have ever worked on and want to remove the lions as quickly as possible.

Four lionesses Vanda, Amani, Lira and Yuna, and one male lion called Rori will be making their journey across Europe to safety.

Rough time

Donations received will be used to cover the transportation costs and a temporary holding facility along with care for the big cats.

The animals will stay in a holding facility within the EU until the rescue centre at the sanctuary has been completed.

Currently situated in the Wild Animals Rescue Centre (WAR) in Kyiv, Ukraine, the lions have had a rough time in the war-torn country.

Yuna, one of the lions, had received a concussion from debris caused by a devastating missile strike landing near her enclosure making her unable to walk.

Shell shock is another condition that the lions have been suffering from as attacks on Kyiv cause them anxiety.

Natalia Popova and her team are currently looking after the lions in Ukraine, with support from the animal charity IFAW (Internation Fund for Animal Welfare).

These African lions have come from different situations, with two being sisters that were illegally bred for photo exploitation purposes.

The Big Cat Sanctuary already has 12 different species of cats, with around 40 total. They have documented their journey so far on YouTube.

Some commenters said: “Good luck with rescuing these beautiful lions, so in need of a happy, peaceful home.”

Another said: “Amazing. Hope their recovery goes well!”

With the donations still coming, they will be able to achieve their mission and bring the lions safely to Kent where there will permanently reside.

The sanctuary is open to the public and hold experiences were you can meet there big cats up close.

Featured image: Ralph on Pexels