Gino is a male white lion who arrived at the sanctuary in the fall of 2018. At the time, he was only two and a half years old.
Gino’s parents, white lions Sofia and Kimba, had been imported from South Africa to the Buenos Aires Zoo in 2008. In 2015, Gino was born there at the zoo. Once Gino’s father Kimba started showing aggression towards Gino (which is natural in the wild), Gino was moved to live on his own in a separate habitat from his parents.
Now that the Buenos Aires Zoo has shifted its focus from being a government-funded zoo to a more compassionate eco-park, they’d only be exhibiting native species. That meant many of their animals would need placement, including this lion family.
We worked with the Buenos Aires Zoo for almost two years on this possible relocation of their lions. Zoo staff flew to the United States to look at many possible sanctuaries for them. After visiting The Wildcat Sanctuary, they decided it would be the best place for their lions to live out their lives, wild at heart.
Arranging transport for Gino and six other lions was a monumental undertaking. It’s never easy coordinating international rescues. There are so many authorities, agencies, and entities involved, all speaking a different language.
Life at the Sanctuary
We’d expected Gino to be the most active of all the lions since he was so young. Nothing could be further from the truth though. He was the last one who decided to finally exit his transport crate into his new habitat and is much more cautious than the others.
Gino has congenital hypothyroidism which accounts for his shorter stature. He’s also been seen by specialists at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Hospital for neurological symptoms he also exhibits. A custom-designed habitat has been built for him to accommodate his special needs so we can keep a close eye on him, too.
Despite all this, Gino’s the happiest, most fun loving lion and we’re so proud of the way he made the long 6,000 mile journey to live out his days at The Wildcat Sanctuary. He’s a very special boy!
How You Can Help
Accepting a young lion with medical issues as a resident means there will be many costly years ahead for his care. Our sponsorship program helps assure he gets the treatment he needs to thrive. Would you consider becoming Gino’s sponsor parent, or even a one time donation that would help?
It means the world for Gino to have your support – thank you!