Recently, media representatives from the Twin Cities and neighboring South Dakota were present to document the move of a 3 1/2 year old, 350 pound male lion from a local farm to an accredited sanctuary in Mississippi by The Wildcat Sanctuary.
As staff members and reporters patiently waited for the lion to enter the transport crate on his own, TWS Executive Director Tammy Quist described to reporters that situations like this unfortunately are not unusual to TWS. In this case, five brothers purchased this lion as a cub from a Minnesota breeder. As the cute cuddly cub grew into an unhandleable, aggressive adult, the brothers moved him from the farm house to a cage in one of the out buildings where he lived until one of the brothers recently passed away. The remaining four brothers decided it was time for him to move to a location where he would be able to live outside among fellow lions and lionesses; this decision led them to The Wildcat Sanctuary.
Once the lion was prepared for transport, three TWS volunteers drove over a 21 hour period to bring the lion to an accredited sister sanctuary in eastern Mississippi. Another set of reporters and photographers were waiting at Cedarhill Animal Sanctuary when the volunteers and the lion arrived. As preparations were being made to move the transport carrier into place, Cedarhill Director Kay McElroy informed TWS representatives of the lion’s new name, Valentino.
It didn’t take Valentino long to come out of his transport crate to explore his new surroundings. Within minutes, Valentine was exploring his new habitat under the watchful, curious eye of his new neighbors.