Mansa’s a female African lioness who arrived at the sanctuary with her brother Leo in the winter of 2018. They were 11 years old at the time. 

For two years, we’d been working with the Argentina government about the placement of many of their zoo’s lions with our sanctuary. Since Argentina had agreed to end their exhibition of non-native exotic animals, there were eight lions there in need of placement.

International rescues are never easy. Originally, all the lions were to come during the fall season. We wanted them to acclimate to the weather in Minnesota before winter set in. We hurried with the build-out of a new area and central animal building for them called Pride Prairie.

Five of the lions did arrive in the fall – Chupino, Salteña, Gino, Kimba and Sofia. But the final three, Mansa, her brother Leo, and their father Nico kept getting delayed. Sadly, at 22, Nico’s health deteriorated rapidly and we knew he could not make the journey.  He passed away just before they were finally scheduled for their journey.

Leo and Mansa’s journey begins

Mansa lived at La Plata Zoo for years with her mother, sister, and father.  Both her sister and mother had already passed. Though she and Leo had been born together at the zoo 11 years earlier, they were separated at less than a year old. Leo had been sent to La Maxima Zoo.

Now, we were happy we’d be able to finally reunite these two siblings and introduce them to even more lions here. But we didn’t know just how hard that would be!

Delays, delays, delays

Mansa and Leo were both eventually transported to the airport in Buenos Aires for their flight to Miami where they’d have to go through customs.

Unfortunately, they were held up in Florida for hours and hours. During that time, the country was being hit with some dangerous storms. So the decision was made for them to stay at a temporary holding facility until it was safe to travel.

Days turned into a couple of weeks as Mother Nature continued throwing winter storms in their path home. We made two trips down to Florida to arrange for their care and transportation.

When the weather finally cleared, we drove them the last leg of their long journey, straight through to Minnesota. They were home in time for the holidays – the greatest gift of all!

Life at the Sanctuary

As we’ve experienced before with other female lions, Mansa was much more cautious and wary than her brother Leo. Who can blame her since she’d been taken from the only home she’d ever known? This would be a whole new world for her.

But, with Leo beside her, she started to settle in. She loved the privacy of a manger we built for her in her indoor, heated bedroom. As soon as spring arrived, she began enjoying the huge, free roaming habitat, running, stalking, playing with toys and just being a lion!

Since the two siblings had not lived together for so long, we took our time safely merging them. At first, they had a shared wall between their indoor bedrooms. Then, they would meet nose to nose in their outside habitats, too. Finally, they were merged and life has been amazing for them ever since!

Mansa is definitely the alpha of the two. She’s always excited for a new day, taking every opportunity to use all parts of their expansive habitat. She loves playing with toys, bossing her caretakers around, cat napping and trying to dupe us into thinking she’s never been fed. Mansa is a champion eater, for sure!

We’re thrilled to see her thoroughly in love with her new home. Everything we went through to get her here was so worth it.

How You Can Help

Mansa will have many years ahead of her here at the sanctuary. Supporting a lion is very expensive, as you can imagine. One of the best ways to help is by becoming her sponsor parent.

Or, another way is with a one time donation toward her care. It’s easy to do using the buttons at the top of this page. Thank you for welcoming her home this special way!