The siblings Roman, Vincent, Dolf, Ellie and Geena were born in private keeping in Romania and were rescued by FOUR PAWS in 2021. At our FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary in the Netherlands they receive the special care they need. We are preparing them for the next step: LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa!
Follow their story right from their sad start until their happy ending.
The moment we have all been waiting for: The quintuplets are HOME! We are very excited about how they will react to their new spacious environment in LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary. Did you know that the enclosures in LIONSROCK are circular in shape and follow the natural shape of the land? This ensures that the animals are never in a corner and provides a feeling that there is no border. We cannot wait to see them play and have fun in their new home! We are so grateful that we were able to make this new start possible for the young lions. Welcome in paradise dear Roman, Vincent, Dolf, Ellie and Geena!
Ready, set, go!
Roman, Vincent, Dolf, Ellie and Geena are ready to go! The quintuplets are on their way to our beautiful LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa! Our FELIDA Curator Juno will accompany the lions to help them feel comfortable on their journey. We say goodbye to them with a smile and a heavy heart. On the one hand, we will miss the 5 lions very much, because we have devotedly taken care of them during the last year. But on the other hand we also know that LIONSROCK, which is offering them almost unlimited grassland with bushes and trees, is exactly the right place for the young energetic animals. So, our entire team is very happy for them.
The big day is almost there!
The big day is almost there for our 5 young lions. Soon their journey continues, to their new home LIONSROCK! We are very happy for them. Such a long transfer is anything but a piece of cake! A team of specialists and veterinarians have been preparing the animals and logistics for months. Permits have to be acquired, the appropriate means of transport have to be arranged and in LIONSROCK all preparations had to be made for the new arrivals. In FELIDA our team has prepared the animals for the transfer in the best possible way. We did daily crate training with them. This is to familiarize the animals with the transport crates so that they are less nervous during the journey. They are trained to go into the boxes so that they do not have to be put under anesthesia. This went well with all of them, only Dolf needed more time to get used to his transport crate. We are hopeful that he will enter his crate as well.
The preparations have started
The 5 young lions Roman, Vincent, Dolf, Ellie and Geena have outgrown FELIDA. Thanks to their youth, health and high energy level , they no longer require special care but as much space and freedom as possible. That is why we have started the preparations for their move to LIONSROCK in South Africa!
Roman, Vincent, Dolf, Ellie and Geena are celebrating their 3rd birthday! And that had to be celebrated with special enrichment. The Quintuplets loved the decorations and were determined to completely destroy the presents.
Dynamics are changing
Roman was the leader of the quintuplets from the moment they arrived at FELIDA, but lately we see the dynamics in the pride slightly changing. While Roman is still the first one to play with enrichment, it is actually Vincent who takes the lead when it is feeding time. It seems the two of them are figuring out who the big boss is. Luckily they do so in a peaceful way: being in each other’s company is what they love best.
To prepare the quintuplets for their trip to LIONSROCK, we are doing ‘crate trainings’ on a daily basis. With these ‘positive reinforcement’ trainings we teach them to walk into a transport crate all by themself. On the one hand they learn the crate is not scary, and on the other hand anaesthesia is not necessary. This saves the animals a lot of stress! We will continue the daily trainings until the day of the actual move, to prepare them as best as possible.
Since the siblings are getting mature, we see the dynamics in the group is changing. Roman is developing himself more and more as the big leader of the group. Dolf on the other hand, is last in ranking. This is not necessarily a bad thing: they have to find their way of living together in a peaceful way. We do however keep a strict eye on all of them to ensure they get the tailor-made care they need.
The quintuplets are successfully reunited! Because Dolf is the most submissive of the group, we gave him a head start by reintroducing him with his sisters first. This went well, so Roman and Vincent were soon allowed to follow. We are very happy that all five are back together, so that we can prepare them for the planned future: LIONSROCK in South Africa.
The quintuplets used to live together before they were rescued. However, since they are close to reaching sexual maturity and we want to avoid offspring – because they are related, but also since FOUR PAWS has a strict non-breeding policy to avoid more wild animals in captivity – we separated them since their arrival to take proper measures. One of those measures was a laprascopic castrastion surgery for the ladies Ellie and Geena. Just like their brothers, they also received a proper medical check by our wildlife veterinarians. Roman and Vincent are slightly overweighted, but other than that the quintuplets seem in good condition!
Arrival at FELIDA
After a long trip through the continent from East to West, two days later the seven lions arrived at FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary in the Netherlands. An exhausting, emotional journey for every person and animal involved finally came to an end. What a relief it was to see the seven lions enter their new homes for the first time, where they are protected and receive the special care they need.
The rescue mission
After long negotiations as well as intensive preparations, our team managed to come to an agreement with the owner – who had a license to keep the lions in his backyard on a legal basis. The quintuplets as well as their older siblings from different litters, lion Simba and lioness Elza, were handed over to us. On September 29, 2021, the loading of the lions for their rescue was finally about to start.
Where their story begins...
In November 2020, a music video on the internet featured a young lion that was injured. It led to a public outcry and soon, FOUR PAWS found out that the animal belonged to a private owner in Picior de Munte, in the southern part of Romania. The young lion, called Simba, was not the only big cat living on this property. It was revealed that a total of nine lions were living in small, unsuitable cages, including the quintuplets: Roman, Vincent, Dolf, Ellie and Geena. There was an urgent need for action!