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Lion cubs rescued from Ukraine hope to call Minnesota’s Wildcat Sanctuary home

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I’ve been waiting to share this news with you for quite some time.  A few months ago, IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) asked if we could help 4 lion cubs in war-stricken Ukraine. We knew it would be difficult, but with so many amazing animal warriors on the ground trying to save as many animals as possible, we wanted to do our part.

IFAW reached out to us about the cubs because our team is experienced in international big cat translocations, though none during such conflict.  We know with every step forward, there may be three steps back.  But seeing the committed individuals on the ground providing rescue and animal care during shelling, sometimes with no electricity or running water, we were determined to help.

The cubs, all younger than four months, arrived safely at the Poznan Zoo in Poland after traveling for 36 hours out of war-torn Ukraine, where they will be cared for until onward transport permits are issued.

They have had a harrowing first few months of life, surviving the recent drone attacks and sporadic bombings in Kyiv. Remembering the first moments caring for Dash, I can imagine how scared the caretakers were for the cubs’ survival.

According to their permits, all of the cubs were surrendered to animal rescue organizations, VetCrew in Odesa and Wild Animal Rescue in Kyiv, after local officials started to enforce laws on the exotic pet trade in Ukraine.

“An estimated 200 lions live in private homes and as the war rages on, they face increasingly grim outcomes,” says Meredith Whitney, Wildlife Rescue Program Manager at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

We know there are more bumps in the road to come, but we committed to the long journey.  Both for the animals, but also for the humans who are dedicating themselves to helping each other and the animals during this very difficult time of war. Our hearts are with them all.

We were thrilled to be able to offer these cubs a beautiful, one acre habitat together and hope to welcome them home in the coming months.

TWS is proud to offer a forever home for these soon-to-be big cats and with your help today, we can rescue and care for more big cats in need!

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) – IFAW is a global non-profit helping animal and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org

About TWS (The Wildcat Sanctuary) – The Wildcat Sanctuary (TWS) is the only accredited, non-profit sanctuary in the Midwest. TWS provides a natural sanctuary to wild cats in need and inspires change to end the captive wildlife crisis. Combining natural and spacious habitats with a life free of exhibition, TWS allows all residents to live wild at heart. As a true sanctuary, we do not buy, breed, sell or exhibit animals. The Wildcat Sanctuary is accredited by the American Sanctuary Association and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. More information can be found at WildcatSanctuary.org

Photo Credit: Holly-Marie Cato

 

 

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