Lions Rescued From Ukraine Arrive at Colorado Sanctuary

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

Nine lions that were rescued from Ukraine due to the ongoing conflict are now in their new home in Colorado. These animals were “urgently relocated” from Bio Park Zoo in Odessa, Ukraine. This was done when the Russian invasion of the country began. News of this action comes from a release from The Wild Animal Sanctuary.

Now, we have word that a convoy transported the lions from Odessa across Moldova and into Romania. That journey reportedly stretched for more than 600 miles, according to the sanctuary. The lions arrived at the Tarbgu Mures Zoo, which is located in Romania’s Transylvania region, on May 24.

Lions Did Spend Time In Romania As Well

These lions would spend months at the zoo. They were waiting for an emergency travel permit so they could board a rescue flight. This, too, is according to the sanctuary. Finally, the animals would arrive at their final homes on September 29. The crew of animals totaled seven adult lions and two cubs from the rescued pride. They are now under the care of The Wild Animal Sanctuary. That’s a nonprofit based in Keenesburg, Colorado. The lions reportedly will live at an extension of the sanctuary called The Wild Animal Refuge. It consists of nearly 10,000 acres of land near Springfield, Colorado. This facility is not open to the public, according to the sanctuary’s website.

Two additional lions were sent to the Simbonga Game Reserve and Sanctuary in Eastern Cape, South Africa, the release states. Over on Facebook, the South African reserve said they received two lions, Mir and Simba. They were rescues from Ukraine, and they then stayed in Romania.

Oklahoma City Zoo Welcomed New Ones

Pat Craig, executive director of The Wild Animal Sanctuary, highlights the complexity of the feline rescue mission, according to CNN. “International rescue operations are almost always more complex in nature, but then you are factoring in a variety of foreign governments and timelines for permitting, some of those with active war zones,” Craig said in the release. “We are thankful we could get all the lions out in time and save them. That’s what matters. They will live out the rest of their lives in pristine, large, natural habitats.”

What these lions needed was a new home and they got it in Colorado. They will be safe and out of harm’s way. While we are talking about rescuing lions, we have a little more lion news to share with you. Lion cubs happened to be born at the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Zoo for the first time in 15 years. “We are incredibly excited to share the news about the recent additions to our African lion pride,” said Tyler Boyd, OKC Zoo’s curator of carnivores.