Lion Bobby at FELIDA


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 kidney failure. No recovery is possible for this, but we support him with medication to provide him with the best life possible.

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 clicker 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 January 2021:

When we rescued Bobby, he was really sick and vulnerable. He had to come a long way, but nowadays he is doing very well. In spite of his failing kidneys, Bobby enjoys life to the fullest every single day. He does not have to be stressed or anxious anymore. And to see him feeling so well, confident and at home really is a blast!

Update September 2021:

Our big fellow Bobby recently moved! We took Bobby to the other side of our sanctuary via a “tunnel”, where he eventually found his new home in the old enclosure of Ivan-Asen. The move went very smoothly: Bobby trusted us completely and was able to quickly become acquainted with all new scents and objects.
We see this this move is having positive results. It is a more quiet place and he immediately tested his new hammocks, which seem to have his approval! Although he still finds his new indoor enclosure a bit exciting, this is also getting better by the day. 
In general, we are super happy with how Bobby is doing. We know his kidney failure is in an advanced stage, yet at the moment he is clearly still feeling well. He is playing more and more with enrichment and is also building up more and more self-confidence. However, there is one thing that he is missing: the social and vocal contact with other lions. As you know, we are busy behind the scenes with a case involving Romanian lions, and we hope we can give them a new life at FELIDA soon. This would be great for Bobby too!

Update October 2021:

Bobby is over the moon with his new neighbors, especially Elza and Simba. Although he clearly shows that he is the big boss at FELIDA, he does so in a calm way that does not deter Simba. And the beautiful lioness Elza has his special interest and this is mutual. Yet, Elza is sometimes also still a bit suspicious towards him and when she indicates that she needs more space, he leaves her alone. What a perfect gentleman!


  • Born in Albania in 2010
  • Can be recognised by his battered nose and wild manes
  • Loves clicker training with his caretakers
  • Prefers horse to eat
  • Not playful with enrichment
  • Prefers to lie down in his hammock whole day