Chupino’s a male lion who arrived at the sanctuary in 2018. It’s estimated he was about 16 years old when he came to us, though there were no zoo records from that time period. We spent a long time arranging for him, and six other lions, to travel the long 6,000-mile journey to Minnesota from Argentina.
He and a female lion Salteña were the last two lions at Argentina’s Mendoza Zoo. They had to share the one mountainside outdoor space there, taking turns rotating from a dark, caged cave area to the outside. Thirteen other lions had already died there. The zoo didn’t neuter their animals, so numbers quickly got out of hand. Animals were escaping and roaming the grounds.
That’s why an animal welfare group in Argentina reached out to us to see if we could take in Chupino and Salteña. Zoos in Argentina were changing their focus, becoming eco-parks exhibiting native species only. We were happy to be able to offer them a home here at the sanctuary.
Chupino is a very different looking lion since he has no tail. “Chupino” means having no tail or one that is shorter than normal. We’ll never know if he was born this way or his tail was amputated for some reason.
Life at the Sanctuary
Chupino’s a very confident lion. The minute he stepped out into his new area, he began marking everything and rubbing the pine trees. He loves toy balls to play with and is thrilled with his outdoor manger area. He sits high up on it, using is as a perch, watching the tiger trio across the way or asserting himself to fellow male lion Leo who’s also close by.
But what he loves most of all is his companion Salteña. He’s never far from her. He loves to roar to her and we hope he’s saying, “We’re finally, finally home!” They truly are.
How You Can Help
International rescues are very difficult and very expensive. That’s why our sponsorship program is so important. It helps provide the best life possible for those we’re able to rescue.
Thank you for considering becoming Chupino’s sponsor parent, or even giving a one time donation toward his care. There are easy buttons at the top of this page you can click to help. It makes such a difference for him!