After months of rehabilitation in Jordan, Simba and Saeed arrived safely at Lion’s Rock, a big cat sanctuary in South Africa’s Free State province.
The young lions were picked up last year from the conflict-ravaged cities of Mosul and Aleppo.
The rescued lions were trained for weeks in preparation for their un-sedated, 33-hour journey by plane and truck to the 1,250 hectare sanctuary.
Four year old Simba was one of two animals found still alive despite appalling conditions in a private zoo in Mosul last February. Most of the others died of starvation or were killed by bombs.
Diana Bernas, head animal keeper at al-Ma’wa Animal Sanctuary in Jordan, told the BBC, “He’s witnessed a lot of trauma in Iraq. Simba was very shy when he first came to the sanctuary; he likes to sit at the back until he figures everyone out.”
Two year old Saeed, on the other hand, “is a happy-go-lucky guy, so a gem of a lion,” she said. “His name means happy in Arabic, so it’s bittersweet to let him go.”
See: 04.23.2017 Last survivors at Iraqi zoo rescued and
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