Lion Simba at FELIDA


Solutions for big cats in need by offering a safe haven and permanent care


The Foundation FELIDA runs the sanctuary since 12 May 2014. The reason for its establishment is the takeover of the Pantera sanctuary in Nijeberkoop by FOUR PAWS International.


The policy of FELIDA is to promote animal protection, offer solutions for big cats in need, execute and/or support scientific research and in general do everything that helps improve animal welfare in the broadest sense of the word.


  • Offering (temporary) intake and care for big cats from zoos, circuses and private captivity;
  • Rehoming animals to LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa;
  • Taking permanent care of animals that cannot be transported to LIONSROCK;
  • Doing research into the optimization of animal welfare for big cats in captive conditions;
  • Providing information and education to the public.


Unfortunately, our work is still indispensable, as the welfare of big cats is very often compromised. Some examples:

  • Many big cats such as lions and tigers are still kept in cruel conditions in circuses. They are confined to small cages, are constantly on the road and have to endure stressful training and shows;
  • In Eastern Europe, big cats usually live in cruel conditions in small enclosures. Money and knowledge to improve their conditions is lacking;
  • In many countries, big cats are popular pets. None of the private owners have the necessary knowledge, resources and/or space to offer these animals a suitable environment. Big cats demand very specific requirements regarding enclosure design, hiding space, room to move, food and social structure.
Safari Park Zoo Fier

Lion Lenci in Safari Park Zoo Fier in Albania, before he was rescued by FOUR PAWS


The board of the FELIDA foundation consists of:

  • Chairman, Josef Pfabigan (CEO of FOUR PAWS International);
  • Treasurer, Petra Sleven (Director FOUR PAWS Netherlands)
  • Secretary, Helma van de Vondevoort;
  • Board member, Luciana D'Abramo (CDO of FOUR PAWS International);

The board members do not receive remuneration for their work. 

Personnel and organisation

The FELIDA team consists of a fulltime Site Manager with a lot of experience in the intake and care for wild animals, a fulltime Curator, a fulltime Communication and Hospitality Coordinator, a part-time Maintenance Foreman and four part-time Animal Caretakers with a relevant education. The team is supported by a group of very committed and experienced volunteers.

External experts support FELIDA for activities related to the design and maintenance of facilities, safety of the sanctuary and medical health care for the animals.

FELIDA makes every effort to keep overhead costs as low as possible, including through a moderate remuneration policy for our employees.

"The fact that we, as an organisation, provide special care to rescued animals and at the same time develop new projects for animals in need, gives me the drive to continue this important work."

Juno van Zon, Head of Animal & Facility Management at FELIDA


We can accomplish our goals by:

  • Offering direct rescue and care for animals in need;
  • Working together with authorities;
  • Involving the public by providing information and education;
  • Sharing our knowledge.

Main activities

  • Improvement of animal welfare with individual monitoring, medical care, training and enrichment programmes;
  • Development of quality standards in regard to management, animal welfare, facilities, safety, hygiene, infrastructure, communication and education;
  • Research into future development for the FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary with a focus on special care for traumatised big cats;
  • Education and information sharing during visitor days, presentations and via online platforms.
Lion Bobby at FELIDA

our standards of care

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