Terez and Masoud were born in September 2017 at the Razgrad Zoo, a zoo in Bulgaria that also functioned as an illegal breeding station for lions. They are the result of inbreeding (both their parents and grandparents are siblings) and shortly after they were born, they were abandoned by their mother. There was a third cub, but unfortunately he passed away shortly after being born. The brothers were rescued just in time and arrived after a long journey to FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary in February 2018.
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Shortly after Masoud and Terez were abandoned by their mother, they were taken to a veterinary clinic in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. The two little cubs suffered from diarrhea, dehydration and respiratory problems. They were raised by hand to give them a chance at life: successfully! Meanwhile, the FOUR PAWS team started preparations to take them to FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary.
This was not without a struggle: the Bulgarian authorities did not initially authorise any transport. This led to an international protest: FOUR PAWS started a petition that was signed by supporters across the globe and Bulgarian animal lovers organised various protests on the street. Eventually, we received the green light on February 6, and the then 5-month-old cubs of only 20 kilos each travelled to Nijeberkoop, the Netherlands.
In FELIDA they have undergone many developments and grew into two young adult lions with growing mane and deepening roars. Terez was the bravest of the two from the start.
They begin every day with a far-reaching roar, and despite their young age their roar is in no way inferior to the other lions at FELIDA. They love enrichment – especially melons and pumpkins – and are always in for something new.
Farewell, Masoud (July 2020)
Although Terez became stronger over the years, Masoud did not: we saw his neurological problems worsen and his motor skills deteriorating. We therefore brought Masoud to the University of Utrecht for a thorough MRI and CT scan. The results confirmed our fears: Masoud suffered from a very complex, malformed spine which was a congenital defect due to inbreeding. The condition had progressed to a point where it was causing Masoud severe pain and would cause him even more pain while growing further into adulthood. After thorough consultations with the neurological specialists and wildlife veterinarians it became clear that that this condition could not be surgically treated or improved in any other way and that pain medication was not effective any longer. When there is no hope for improvement, preventing suffering is the last part of the care we can provide to the animals we rescued and therefore we had to say our final goodbyes to Masoud in the end of July, 2020.
The loss of his brother has an impact on Terez and we therefore keep a close eye on him and are giving him extra attention.
Update March 2021: medical examination for Terez
Although Terez's condition is slightly better than Masoud's condition was, we know that he too is at risk of similar problems, not only neurological but also in terms of deteriorating kidney function. In order to properly examine and diagnose both issues, it is necessary to make MRI and CT scans. This can be done at the University of Utrecht with the help of their neurological specialists. Based on the results we can make a tailored treatment plan, and give Terez the best possible care. To prepare Terez for this journey, we perform 'crate trainings', so he learns to walk into his transport crate by himself. In this way, he learns that the crate is not scary and if everything goes according to plan, he does not have to be sedated prior to the journey, which saves him a lot of stress.
Farewell Terez (May 2021)
Only ten months after saying farewell to Masoud, we are struck with grief again. We had to say farewell to our beloved Terez, who has been reunited with his brother and left us brokenhearted.
The lion brothers arrived at FELIDA in February 2018. They were just 5 months old and weighed only 20 kilos each. So young and already so sick, both suffering from severe neurological problems after being born as a result of inbreeding in an illegally operating Bulgarian zoo. The cards they were dealt with meant never-ending health challenges.
We gave them intensive specialised care, maximising their chances to enjoy, play, relax and have other positive experiences. And despite their ailments and within their own limitations, the brothers enjoyed life and grew up to be happy, enthusiastic and sweet lions. But not for as long as we had hoped. Last summer the medical condition of Masoud progressed to a point where pain could no longer be avoided, and we had to let him go. Not much later it was confirmed that Terez, who already had the same neurological problems in a less advanced stage, was suffering from deteriorating kidney function. Kidney failure is common, especially in older felines, but for younger animals with a difficult start in life this can develop earlier. A few weeks ago his kidney failure caught up with him.
Every possible measure was taken but we saw Terez weaken, and after thorough consultation, it became clear that there was no way Terez would recover. Despite his young age, we saw him give up. He seemed to simply lack the energy to keep fighting his failing body. When there is no hope for improvement, ending suffering is the last part of the care we can provide to the animals we rescue. It is the most difficult part of our work, but crucial to ensure animal welfare.
Our hearts are in pieces, again. We know Terez will be missed by so many people who made his rescue possible. We are forever grateful to have been a part of that. We hope Terez felt the love and care that was there for him, that it showed him humans can be better. Farewell Terez, you will not be forgotten. Whatever awaits you now, we are sure it is together with Masoud.
- Born in Bulgaria on September 8th 2017
- Nephews of and crazy about lion Ivan-Asen
- The result of inbreeding
- Terez has a 'naughty' look, while Masoud looks more innocent
- Especially Terez loves pumpkins and melons to play with