Lions ProfileRescued from tiny concrete cages in  Gaza, FOUR PAWS has safely delivered two lions, to LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary, to live in peace and freedom.






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After intense negotiations and months of logistical preparation, two lions have found their way to Bethlehem in the Free State, where they’ll live amongst almost 100 other rescued big cats in the country’s biggest big cat sanctuary.


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Motan and Pisa were rescued out of the Gaza Strip in what was FOUR PAWS International’s biggest emergency mission to date. After traveling from Gaza to Israel, Jordan and finally Johannesburg, Motan and Pisa arrived at LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in the Free State – malnourished and insecure about their new environment.

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On arrival, it was clear that Motan and Pisa had been kept in tiny concrete cages. They didn’t know what to make of the sensation of grass under their feet, or the uneven surface of the ground. Those observing Motan and Pisa realised that they’d been exposed to very little natural surrounds.

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“It is incredible to see the excitement in their exploring of this new space that they find themselves in. There is still a lot of rehabilitation to be done, and we will in the coming weeks give them enrichment to stimulate their natural behaviour,” says Fiona Miles, director of FOUR PAWS in South Africa.

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FOUR PAWS rescues lions like Motan and Pisa who are often ill-treated, underfed and kept in small cages all their lives. The first part of their intensive rehabilitation has now started, where they’ll be spending the rest of their lives in a species-appropriate environment.

“All these animals survived unbearable conditions. At LIONSROCK we provide them with a home that gives them the peace, safety and comfort in an environment that enables them to heal. We have been fortunate enough to witness their remarkable recoveries to the point where they really are behaving as the lions and tigers that they were born to be,” says Miles.

Altogether 47 animals were rescued in this complex Gaza mission.