Lion Bobby at FELIDA

LION BOBBY († 2024)

Rescued from “Europe’s worst zoo”


Bobby was together with the lions Zhaku and Lenci, rescued from Safari Park Zoo Fier in Albania by FOUR PAWS. This zoo was known as “Europe’s worst zoo”. His battered nose is a sad reminder of his difficult life in Albania. Since May 9th, 2019 he lives at the FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary.

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Liberated from concrete

In October 2018, a FOUR PAWS rescue team managed to rescue the three lions, as well as the other wildlife from Safari Park Zoo Fier. Bobby had lived on a concrete floor in a small cage for years. There was no protection from wind, rain or sunlight. After the rescue, the lions were transferred to a temporary residence in the Albanian capital, Tirana, until the Albanian ministry authorised transport to the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the ministry initially did not cooperate, and bureaucratic arbitrariness hindered the movement of the three lions. FOUR PAWS launched an online petition signed by nearly 70,000 supporters. With success: the lions got the green light. After a journey of 52 hours and almost 3,000 kilometres through ten countries, they were finally home.

After the rescue, the care begins

Sometimes we say that the work really starts after the rescue. Bobby, Zhaku and Lenci were all in very bad shape. So bad, unfortunately, that help came too late for lion Zhaku: he died two months after arriving at FELIDA. Bobby didn't have an easy time either. He suffered from teeth problems and a severe urinary tract infection. Although we could help him with both problems after his arrival at FELIDA, it took him a long time to completely recover from this. In addition to that, he suffers from chronic kidney disease. No recovery is possible for this, but we support him with medication to provide him with the best life possible.

Lion Bobby roaring

Peace at last

Bobby's favourite hobby is to lie down and rest, relax and sleep in his hammock. He is not a playful or active lion. After his morning routine - in which he examines his enclosure, marks his territory and roars in the ‘lion choir’ - he jumps into his hammock where he prefers to lie around all day. Enrichment is simply not his thing. On the other hand, he really likes the positive reinforcement training with his caregivers. He is very intelligent and eager to learn. But otherwise he is most of all just very lazy. For years, Bobby lived on a concrete floor, but now he has finally found peace.

Update May 2024: Farewell, dear Bobby

In May 2024, we noticed that Bobby was clearly not feeling well. He ate less and had difficulty walking. We kept a close eye on him, and wildlife veterinarian Julia Bohner from the Leibniz-Institute of Zoo and Wildlife Research visited to assess his health. The results of the blood test showed that his kidneys had further deteriorated and ceased functioning. His condition was irreversible, and to prevent further suffering, we made the difficult decision to let him go.

Bobby was rescued alongside his father and brother from the worst zoo in Albania and arrived with us on May 9, 2019. He came to us with serious health issues and faced a challenging time after his rescue. However, he proved to be stronger than anyone expected and bounced back. Over the past five years, we provided him with intensive, specialized care, and we saw that the magnificent lion, despite his chronic kidney disease, still enjoyed life to the fullest. Bobby's favorite hobby was lounging and relaxing. After his morning routine - during which he explored his enclosure, marked his territory, and joined in the “lion choir” - he would jump into his hammock, where he preferred to spend the entire day.

We are grateful for the time we spent with Bobby and for the difference we were able to make in his life. He was the animal that has been with us the longest of all the current FELIDA residents. We will miss him greatly, and we know that you will too.

Farewell, dear Bobby. We will never forget you. 

Update 2023: Vulnerable health

In the beginning of June 2023 we discovered that Bobby was not feeling quite well. We know from his past that his bladder wall has been affected by the chronic bladder infections he had before he arrived at FELIDA. We are currently supporting him with supplements to protect his bladder wall and we check his urine regularly. The result has shown that there are traces of blood and white blood cells in his urine which can indicate that there is an infection. Therefore, we have decided to schedule a medical check to find out exactly what is going on and make a new treatment plan for him.

Wildlife veterinarian Mandana Pötsch from Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research came to FELIDA to examine his bladder and kidneys and take samples of his blood and urine. We already know from previous medical checks that Bobby suffers from a further developed stage of chronic kidney disease and we will keep supporting him with medication. 

The last lab results of Bobby’s medical check show no significant deteriorating of his health. The wildlife veterinarians did detect a mass on his liver, but his blood samples show no changes in his liver function values or immune system. Which means that Bobby’s liver function is still stable. He also does not seem to have any symptoms at the moment.

To find out what the mass is, Bobby would need surgery and biopsies would need to be taken for pathology. However, since the 13-year-old lion does not seem to be bothered by the symptoms, we want to avoid any stressful and invasive procedures to prevent further deterioration of his chronic kidney disease. For now, we will focus on his well-being, support him with supplements and medication and treat his symptoms when they occur. 

Update 2022: A year full of adventure

Bobby was over the moon with his new neighbor: lioness Elza. This interest is mutual. In the beginning Elza was still a bit suspicious towards him and when she indicated that she needed more space, he gave her this like a real gentleman! But now she shows more and more interest in Bobby. We are therefore rotating their enclosures so they can discover each other's territory. 

In October 2022, it was exactly 4 years ago that FOUR PAWS rescued and evacuated our beloved lion Bobby, together with 10 other neglected wild animals from Safari Park Zoo in Fier in Albania, known also as “Europe’s worst zoo”. He suffered from a severe urinary tract infection and was in a lot of pain. The lion had to come a long way. Thanks to our intensive special care, Bobby now enjoys life to the fullest every single day. He does not have to be stressed or anxious anymore. We are so happy to see him feeling well, relaxed and at home at FELIDA. 

To ensure that every animal receives the best possible care in the winter, we have relocated animals within FELIDA in December 2022. Bobby, together with his neigbour Elza, moved to the large enclosure of Tsezar and vice versa. We have adapted the enclosures to their own special needs and made sure that they all have heated indoor enclosures to keep them comfortable during the cold nights. The move went very smoothly and efficiently. Bobby of course immediately tested his new hammock, but he also wanted to make sure that his old neigbour Elza was still next to him.


  • Was born in Albania in 2010
  • Can be recognised by his battered nose and wild manes
  • Has developed a special friendship with lion Simba
  • Not playful with enrichment, but loves special 'blood popsicles'
  • Prefers to nap in his hammock all day

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