Lioness Elza at FELIDA

LIONess elza

Used as a pet


The shy lioness Elza was used as a pet in Romania for the first four years of her life and after that, she spend her days in a very small cage next to her other siblings. In autumn 2021 FOUR PAWS managed to rescue her and bring her to FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary.

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Elza was born in February 2015 and there were two other cubs in her litter: Elsa (with an s) and Marley. While Elza stayed in Romania, her siblings made the news in December 2015 when they were found in a parking lot in Germany. They were confiscated and brought to a sanctuary in Spain. The traces brought us back to Picior de Munte where Elza was used as a pet. 


On the 1st of October 2021, after long negotiations, preparations and a two-day journey, Elza arrived in her new home at FELIDA.

After the release it became clear that she is the most sensitive lion of all. In the first few days after the arrival she mainly stayed indoors, carefully exploring her new surroundings. In controlled baby steps we let her get used to the outdoor world. And soon, she became so much more comfortable! She starts building up some contact with her next door neighbor Bobby, who is over the moon with this beautiful lioness next to her. Elza is curious towards him yet also a bit suspicious. Luckily Bobby behaves like the perfect gentleman, and gives her the space when she needs it.

Mental and physical health

Since Elza is very sensitive and oriented on people, for now we focus on a treatment plan to build up her self-confidence which should benefit her mental health.

Furthermore, to analyse her physical health, our wildlife veterinarians from Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and Vetmeduni Vienna performed a general health check on her (as well as on the other Romanian lions), such as checking the kidneys, taking blood samples and a general body check. 
The biggest task for the team of vets was to remove her uterus via a laparoscopic surgery. Since Elza is constantly in heat but will not produce any offspring, this will cause her medical problems in the future. The uterus was already affected, but luckily successfully removed. Afterwards Elza could wake up in a warm bed of straw in her heated indoor enclosure and she has recovered well since.

Update February 2022: Elza and Bobby

Elza shows more and more interest in her neighbor Bobby, and this interest is mutual. Therefore we regularly rotate their enclosures, so they can discover each others territory. We monitor the lions closely to see how their social interactions develop in the future. 


  • Born in Romania on 1 February 2015
  • Was used as a pet for the first four years of her life
  • Older sister of Simba, Vincent, Roman, Dolf, Ellie and Geena
  • Came from the same litter as Elsa and Marley, who were discovered on a parking lot in Germany in 2015
  • Very shy and sensitive animal, yet also very sweet