Lions Geena, Ellie and Vincent

The Journey of the Quintuplets

From Sadness to Special Care to South Africa 


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. 


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Lions Vincent and Roman

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.

Crate training with Geena

Crate trainings

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. One 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.

Roman (left), Dolf (middle), Vincent (right)

Becoming adolescents

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.

Roman, Vincent, Dolf and Ellie


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.

Surgery of lioness Ellie

Medical checks

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!

Release at FELIDA

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.


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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.

Lions at Picior de Munte, Romania

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!

Lion Simba

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