- Five lions, rescued from Romania, have been flown to South Africa.
- The lions were kept by a private keeper, but had been living in unsuitable conditions.
- The big cats will be relocated to a sanctuary in the Free State.
Five lions, rescued from Romania, arrived in South Africa on Wednesday.
Their arrival coincides with World Lion Day, which is marked on 10 August.
The day, which celebrates the proverbial king of the jungle, aims to spread awareness of lions and the urgent need to strive for their conservation.
The lions – three males and two females – are all three years old and from the same litter.
They were rescued from a private keeper in Romania in September 2021.
After their rescue, they were taken to the FELIDA sanctuary in Nijeberkoop, in the Netherlands, for medical treatment.
But, on Wednesday, the lions arrived in South Africa on the last leg of a journey to be permanently rehomed at a big cat sanctuary.
The lions will be housed at the animal welfare activist group Four Paws' Lionsrock sanctuary in Bethlehem, Free State. The lions arrived at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg on Wednesday after being transported in crates. They then travelled by truck to Lionsrock, which is three hours away.
The lions were rescued after they were featured in a music video, circulating on the internet, in November 2020.
One of the lions was clearly injured in the video, prompting Four Paws to track down the owner in Picior de Munte, in the southern part of Romania.
Four Paws found nine lions living in small, unsuitable cages, filled with faeces and skeletons, and began negotiations with the owner for the release of the seven youngest lions.
Two of the lions remain at the FELIDA sanctuary for the time being, for further medical care.