Lion Simba at FELIDA

LION Simba

Exploited in a music video


Simba reached the news at the end of 2020 when he was used for pictures and a video clip by a Romanian artist. The material was shared on social media and since he was clearly injured, many people in Romania were shocked about it and this led to a public outburst. Luckily we could rescue him and since October 2021 he lives at FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary, where he finally gets the love and special care that he needs.

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Lonely and alone

After Simba reached the news, he was seized and brought to a local zoo. However not much later he returned to Picior de Munte in the southern part of Romania, since the owner has a permit to keep him, his siblings and his parents. After the separation Simba could not be reunited peacefully with his family and therefore he was kept separately in a small cage, where he could hear but not see his family. Without any distractions, he was lonely and alone.

From sadness to safety

After long negotiations with the owner, FOUR PAWS managed to convince the owner to handover Simba and his six siblings. On the 1st of October, 2021, after an exhausting rescue mission and a long journey, Simba finally stepped foot into his new home.

His release at FELIDA was an absolute pleasure: he was playing within minutes with enrichment and ever since, he has been busy playing, rolling and running around. The grass under his paws, all the new elements: he enjoys it all like a child in the playground.

Treatment plan

However, despite his joyful behavior he is also the lion that worries us most. We clearly see that he has many health issues. Most likely a combination of malnutrition and inbreeding led to the fact he is very small. His spine is bend, his paws are in a strange position, he has teeth and sight problems and furthermore, when he is not playing or running around, he is showing some stereotypic behavior which can be a result of boredom in the past or pain.

Update November 2021: severe mental and phsyical problems

Shortly after their arrival, we had Simba medically examined by specialised wildlife veterinarians. We know that Simba has physical problems that are comparable to the problems of Masoud and Terez. What we also see with Simba is that, even though he is a happy and playful animal for big parts of the day, his physical deformities and problems also play a role mentally. His eyesight is very poor, he shows stereotypical behavior by chewing/sucking his tail, and he cannot handle too many stimuli and distractions at the same time.

We believe that, through intensive care and guidance, including trainings and close observations as well as small steps according to our tailor-made treatment plan, we slowly but surely can get this special animal back on track. It will be a long road in which patience is key. But with us, Simba will get all the time he needs. 

Update March 2022: new adjustments for his enclosure

We have worked hard for our Simba! In order to respond even better to his special needs, we have made some adjustments to his enclosure. Because Simba has problems with his motor skills, we built special platforms for him with protective borders and small steps. Now he can go up and down whenever he wants. We are so happy to see him enjoying his new platforms! 

Update July 2022: 4 years old

Hip hip hooray, the handsome Simba is turned 4 years old this month. He is an adult lion now and will hopefully have many more years to come!  

Update July 2022: CT scan

When Simba arrived at FELIDA in the fall of 2021, it was clear that he has multiple health problems and is therefore a very vulnerable animal. In recent days, we have seen that his neurological problems are emerging a bit more. Therefore we have schedule a detailed veterinary check-up for him. 

We went with Simba to animal clinic AniCura de Tweede Lijn in Wilhelminaoord where it was possible for us to do a CT scan. The crate training that was needed to bring Simba to the clinic went very smooth: Simba trusted us completely and walked calmly into his crate. Also the examination, by our wildlife veterinarian Mandana Pötsch of Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, went well.  We are now waiting for the results, so that together with our medical specialists we can develop a follow-up plan for his treatments.

​​​​After the examination, Simba woke up well in his cosy indoor enclosure. We will keep you posted!

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  • Born in Romania on 1 July 2018
  • Brother of Elza, Vincent, Roman, Dolf, Ellie and Geena
  • Reached the news because he was used in a music video
  • Very playful
  • Small lion with many health problems due to a combination of malnutrition and inbreeding