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New home for rescued big cats

Panthera Africa in Stanford is proud to announce the completion of a new rescue section to provide a lifetime home for rescued big cats, the latest members of ther pride. The space was made possible thanks to a collaboration with Born Free.

One of the first to arrive at the new space was Galaxy, a white lion who is estimated to be 13 years old. Galaxy arrived at Panthera Africa on Monday 9 September 2019. Although Galaxy had a difficult start to his life, being used in the film industry, he lived for eleven years at a place of safety with two lionesses, Matilda and Saturn.

In the space of two years, Galaxy lost both his mates, Matilda and Saturn, and consequently lost all zest for life. He became so lonely that he started to chew his tail, and as a result it had to be amputated. Galaxy now receives the special care and enrichment that he needs. He has settled in well and is happy and content.

Alpha and Cora were moved from Europe to the Born Free Rescue Section in October 2019 thanks to the collaboration with Born Free. The two lionesses were confiscated from a bankrupt zoo in Spain and taken to a temporary home in Belgium while their enclosure was built. Lizaene Cornwall, co-fouder of Panthera Africa, says that they are truly honoured to be working with Born Free and to be able to give a new home to Alpha and Cora. “We work to provide rescued big cats with a peaceful and safe home and as soon as we saw Alpha and Cora, we knew we wanted to help in any way we could,” she says.

Two cubs, Karlos and Ivana, were confiscated by the NSPCA from a breeding farm in South Africa, and put into the care of veterinarian Dr Peter Caldwell. Their rehabilitation started under the watchful eye of Dr Caldwell, and with the support from Born Free were finally relocated to Panthera Africa once their condition had improved.

According to Cornwall they had to build Karlos and Ivana a temporary enclosure for their recovery. “It had to be a smaller area so as not to overwhelm them. The smaller area also enable us to monitor them more closely, and to watch as they develop. The cubs are still walking with difficulty as a result of their poor start in life, but are improving daily. Within the next six months to a year we plan to build a bigger enclosure for them and will start to fundraise shortly.”

Galaxy’s enclosure and Karlos and Ivana’s enclosure were built using money ringfenced for the retirement camp for two older lions, Achilles and Jubatus. “We had hoped to retire these two boys this year but then received a request to help Galaxy.

“During an animal communication with Achilles and Jubatus, we explained the situation. Achilles and Jubatus both replied that they would prefer to help one of their own than to retire themselves,” says Cathrine S Nyquist, co-founder of Panthera Africa.

The new Born Free Rescue Section at Panthera Africa will never be open to the public but will remain a safe haven for lions. “Many of the lions that we care for are scared of people and are physically and mentally compromised. For their sake, we will keep them away from the public,” says Cornwall.

She adds that in time they hope that the cubs, Karlos and Ivana, will recover sufficiently so that we can move them to the visitors’ area. “Their story is an important one and needs to be heard by the public. They are lucky because they have been rescued but the public needs to know the extent of the animal cruelty that is happening right now in the captive breeding industry,” she says.

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