Each year, dozens of neglected and traumatized lions and tigers are cared for in shelters in the Netherlands. Last week, seven lions in Romania were rescued from poor conditions and taken to the Velida shelter in Friesland.
It’s the largest they’ve ever had at the shelter, as they now take care of a total of nine lions and a leopard.
They’re doing a really good job. The plan is for them to stay with us for several months for intensive care,” said Simon Schulze, director of a rescue center that specializes in treating large cats with physical and mental trauma. “After that, at least five lions will be taken care of in our South African reserve. There the animals live in semi-wildness and have a hectare of land for themselves.”
The Romanian owner got permission to keep the lions on his property, but now he wanted to get rid of the animals. “They had a very small barn, they had almost no water, no plants around and no heating,” says Juno van Zon, who found the animals during the rescue. With a team of about twenty people, they were able to safely transport seven lions to Holland. The owner refused to give him two lions.
Roman Simba music video
One of the lions is three-year-old Simba, who is in poor shape. “Simba looks like a small dog,” Schulz says. “He’s deformed and doesn’t walk well.” “At the sanctuary, we help lions develop a natural behavior and get a sense of hunting.” But Simba’s chances of being strong enough to survive in the wild are slim. He will likely remain at the orphanage in Friesland for the rest of his life.
The international animal organization Vier Voeters, also known as the Four Paws, tracked down Simba with a video by a Romanian artist showing the wild animal. The video caused a storm of criticism on social media, in part because Simba appeared injured. The animal was confiscated, but later returned to its owner.
Youth News visited the animal shelter in Friesland to learn about the animals’ performance:
“Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Freelance organizer. Avid analyst. Friendly troublemaker. Bacon junkie.”