Cargolux frees lions

“We have embarked on a roaring journey,” exclaims Richard Forson, CEO Cargolux in a LinkedIn displayed video, referring to the flight of two brother lions to freedom. Their names: Tsar and Jamil. Both animals were held in captivity during their entire lives and brought to a Belgian rescue center in 2022 after Russia invaded Ukraine. From Luxembourg they now flew on board a Cargolux Italia freighter to South Africa to their new home in a local nature reserve. The entire project, enabled and supported by the Born Free Foundation “is a great step in the rescue of captive animals,” stated Richard Forson, CEO Cargolux in a video clip shown on LinkedIn.

Troubled life in captivity has ended for Tsar and Jamil – courtesy: Born Free Foundation

After arriving in South Africa, following a health check, the crates with the two brother lions, just three years old, were loaded onto a lorry and driven to Born Free’s Big Cat Sanctuary at Shamwari Private Game Reserve located in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province.

Upon arrival, Tsar and Jamil were welcomed by Born Free Manager Catherine Gillson and the rest of the Animal Care team, who observed their transfer into their new, spacious sanctuary home, and provided the lions with their first meal after the long trip.

Over the coming weeks and months, the Born Free Foundation’s teams of animal keepers and vets, headed by Dr. Johan Joubert will monitor Tsar and Jamil to ensure they are settling in well in their forever home. Born Free is committed to providing a safe home and expert care to the brothers for life – which for lions could be up to 25 years. Tsar and Jamil are the 58th and 59th lions the Born Free Foundation has rehomed over the past 40 years.

Born Free’s Head of Rescue & Care, Maggie Balaskas, said: “We’re delighted to offer Tsar and Jamil a lifelong home. At Shamwari they will be lavished with loving, expert care. They will be able to live the rest of their lives peacefully, in spacious enclosures amidst Africa’s natural fauna and flora.”

Since Tsar and Jamil were born in captivity and taken from their mother at a young age, they have never been given the opportunity to learn essential life skills they require for survival. These include how to hunt, stalk and capture prey for food, as well as skills required to live in a pride, understand hierarchies and deal with conflict.

Animals that have early and extensive exposure to human care often never regain their natural, instinctive fear of humans. This means that, as adults, they are more likely to enter areas of human activity such as, villages and settlements where, understandably, they are perceived as a threat and could come under attack. For all of these reasons combined, Born Free does not currently attempt to reintroduce or release any big cats back to the wild. Instead, the organization gives them the best possible captive life possible and use their story to try and prevent further cases of wild animal exploitation, is stated by the Born Free Foundation.

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