Eight years ago in Bulgaria two young lion cubs were taken from their mother, sold to a circus and trained to perform in the bright lights and noise of the Big Top. The circus toured eastern Europe, providing ‘entertainment’ for misguided audiences. But every day, once the applause ended, Jora and Black the lion brothers were returned to small barren cages.
In January 2015 the Bulgarian government banned wild mammals in circuses. Great news, but Jora and Black found themselves languishing in a small beast wagon outside their owner’s house in western Bulgaria. There was nowhere else for them to go. The Bulgarian government contacted the Born Free Foundation to ask for help.
Born Free urgently made plans and raised funds. They moved the lions to a temporary home in Bulgaria and in autumn 2015 Born Free was ready to take them to a permanent new home at their Big Cat Rescue Centre at Shamwari Reserve, South Africa. The lion brothers flew via the UK, and Born Free’s founder Virginia McKenna OBE went to London Gatwick Airport to greet them.
“It’s fantastic!” she exclaimed, “I’m really happy that with our supporters’ generous help we’re able to offer them a wonderful new home at Shamwari.”
Then at last Jora and Black were back in their ‘ancestral homeland’, and Land Rover provided two Discoverys and trailers to drive them to Shamwari. Black was first to be released into their spacious bush enclosure. Stepping out onto grass he wasted no time exploring his new home. Jora soon followed; Black ran to his brother through the bushes and the pair greeted each other fondly after more than 60 hours apart.
Jora and Black are finally surrounded by the sights and sounds of Africa, with space to run and play, and loving care. Just like the dozens of other big cats Born Free has rescued since 1995, this epic journey would not have been possible without the fantastic help
of caring supporters.
Shamwari is the biggest wildlife reserve in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Here Born Free has two Big Cat Rescue and Education Centres where rescued lions and leopards receive loving care for life.
Please help KQ & the Born Free Foundation to safeguard Africa’s wildlife by placing any loose change in the envelopes provided and handing to a member of the cabin crew. The money received will help us in our fight to ensure a future for Africa’s wildlife. Thank you! www.bornfree.org.uk/about-us/born-free-kenya/