Lions Vasylyna and Nikola Settle into South African Sanctuary

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 4, 2024 00:30 AMNews
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White and red airplane under white clouds during daytime
White and red airplane under white clouds during daytime. Source: unsplash

On April 26, two lions, Vasylyna and Nikola, embarked on a significant journey from the Netherlands to South Africa, arriving at LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in the Free State province. Their relocation was facilitated by a special Martinair cargo flight, highlighting the ongoing collaboration in wildlife conservation between various global entities.

Journey to a New Home

Departing from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport aboard Martinair Cargo Flight MP8341, the lions traveled to Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport, a journey tracked by aviation enthusiasts via Flightradar24. The involvement of FOUR PAWS, an animal welfare organization, ensured the lions were transported under optimal conditions to their new habitat, spanning 1250 hectares, where they will live among over 100 other rescued big cats.

Expert Care in Transit

The transfer showcases Martinair’s commitment to animal welfare, as described by Mirjam Scherer, Global Head of Specials Logistics at Air France-KLM Martinair Cargo. The airline's dedicated facilities and trained professionals in Amsterdam provided the necessary care, including special diets and medical supervision, ensuring the lions' well-being during their flight.

Shared Past, Brighter Future

Both lions have similar backstories of rescue from adverse conditions. Vasylyna was previously kept as a pet in war-torn Ukraine, while Nikola was rescued from illegal possession in Montenegro. Their stories highlight the critical issues surrounding wildlife trade and the importance of sanctuaries like LIONSROCK in providing a safe and natural environment for these animals.

Broader Conservation Efforts

This event is part of a broader initiative by FOUR PAWS and its partners to address the plight of big cats globally. The organization's efforts extend beyond immediate rescue, aiming to provide long-term solutions for animals affected by illegal trade and inadequate care.

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