The incredible moment two circus lions are set free in their new South African home

By Shanaaz Prince
20 January 2016

It's a brand new start for ex-circus lions, Jora and Black, who are settled comfortably in their new South African home at the Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape.

Jora and Black are thriving in their new South African home.

Originally part of a circus act touring Eastern Europe and Turkey, the eight-year-old brother lions were successfully rescued in Bulgaria over three months ago.

Following the Bulgarian government’s ban on the use of wild mammals in circuses, the lions were left in a metal cage, without access to water, until the owners agreed to re-home them with Born Free.

Thanks to generous public support, Born Free transported Jora and Black nearly 17 000 kilometers via the UK to a new life at the award-winning Shamwari Game Reserve, near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.

Jora and Black will now be given lifetime care in their large, natural and safe environment at the Born Free Jean Byrd Education and Rescue Centre in Shamwari.

Born Free Foundation Projects Manager, Karen Pettman, said Jora and Black had settled into their new home quickly.

“We are delighted that they have now adapted to their spacious home at Born Free’s Big Cat Rescue Centre on the Shamwari Game Reserve. Jora and Black clearly love being together and are very playful with each other.

"They are also becoming firm favourites with the centre’s visitors who they will often come out to say hello too, chasing each other along the edge of their enclosure,” she says.

The heart warming video below was released this week and reveals how Born Free successfully rescued the lions, and shows the emotional moment the brothers were released from their travelling crates and stepped out onto African soil for the first time.

The release of the video comes as Born Free declares 2016 The Year of the Lion to highlight the plight of lions worldwide and to mark the 50th anniversary of the Oscar-winning motion picture "Born Free".


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