Dutch sanctuary hosts ‘traumatised’ Ukrainian lions, tigers

The animals arriving at the refuge have not been fed for between one to two weeks


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Published: Sat 19 Mar 2022, 9:05 PM

Last updated: Sat 19 Mar 2022, 9:11 PM

Under-nourished and “extremely traumatised,” two lions and two tigers from Ukraine have arrived at a refuge in northern Netherlands on Saturday, according to the animal group that collected them on the Polish border.

The animals are “extremely traumatised” and under-nourished, having not been fed for between one to two weeks, Robert Kruijff, the director of the Stiching Leeuw association that rescued them told AFP.

The animals — two male lions of 3.5 and 1.5 years of age, a male six-month-old tiger and a five-year-old tigress — arrived at the Polish border in a bus filled with various other animals from war-torn Ukraine and their zoos of origin are not known.

The female tiger is in the worst shape and “we don’t know if she’ll survive”, Kruijff said.

The animals will stay in a month-long quarantine in a refuge in the town of Anna Paulowna in the north of the country.

They are eventually due to be transferred to a reserve in South Africa, but only after regaining their strength, which could take up to a year or two, Kruijff said.


The animals’ transfer had been organised by the zoo in Poznan, in western Poland.

At the start of March, other big-game felines rescued from zoos in Ukraine found refuge in Spain and Belgium.

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