Together at last!
What a start off the new year! In the first week of 2024 we have successfully socialised the lions Nikola and Vasylyna. After months of preparations and hard work it was time to open the gate between the two young lions! The first contact between Nikola and Vasylyna was a thrilling but exciting moment! Both lions have never been in contact with a conspecific before. They needed some time to get used to each other’s presence but after a couple of days, the young lions started to settle down and we see wonderful, positive interactions. We are extremely thankful for everyone that has been a part of their story and cannot wait to see what their future together holds.
Their love story continues
It has been a couple of months since Vasylyna moved next to the enclosure of the handsome Nikola. During that time, both lions have been very busy getting to know each other’s characters. They are young and full of energy. We can see this in their behaviour towards each other as they sometimes get a bit distracted. That is why we have adapted their enclosure to create a more secluded environment for their socialization. Together with positive reinforcement training, the use of special pheromones and switching their enclosures, we hope to stimulate their contact even more.
The first spark
Eventually, it was time for them to meet! Both lions are full of energy and needed some time to get used to each other’s enthusiasm. But after a couple of days, they started to settle down and it looks like LOVE IS IN THE AIR! We are so proud of this important milestone in their young lives. They still have a long way to go together, but the first signs look very promising. When the time is right, the next steps in their socialisation process will be discussed our behavioural experts. In the meantime, we will keep a close eye on the lovely couple.
A new enclosure
All the results of the medical check showed that both lions are in perfect health. So, it was time for them to meet. Their first eye contact via the inside enclosure was a big hit. That is why we decided to move Vasylyna to a larger enclosure next to Nikola. The crate training that was needed for her internal relocation went very smooth. After her release, Vasylyna immediately started to explore all the new sounds and smells. She needed a bit of time to get used to her new surroundings, but the young lioness soon felt completely at home.
To prevent future offspring, our veterinarians from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research performed a minimally invasive sterilisation procedure on the young lion Nikola. The operation was successful and Nikola was given time to recover. Lioness Vasylyna also received a visit from the wildlife vets for a routine health check. They checked her kidneys, collected blood and urine samples, and performed a general physical exam. Fortunately, the results show that she is in excellent health! The same goes for Nikola.
Two journeys, one future
In the world of big cats, the lion stands out as the only social creature that thrives in the company of its own kind. That is why we have decided to introduce the young lions, Nikola and Vasylyna, to each other. Both of them are energetic and full of life and we believe that allowing them to spend time together will greatly benefit their overall well-being. Our plan is to gradually bring Vasylyna closer to Nikola by relocating her to an enclosure next to his. When the time is right we will start their introduction. If everything goes according to plan, we hope to socialise the two young lions.
Vasylyna is finally home
The first days after the arrival of Vasylyna were a bit stressfull for her. As the young lioness was in dire need of some rest. After giving her some space to recover from the long journey, she slowly but surely began to explore her new environment and trusting our animal caretakers more and more. Nowadays, we find her on one of the specially made platforms higher up in her enclosure. This serves as an important tool to strengthen her muscles while simultaneously giving her a nice view, allowing her to keep a watchful eye on everything that is going on at the sanctuary. We are very glad to see the young lioness is doing well after the long journey.
The journey to safety
FOUR PAWS has organized many rescues before, but the rescue of lioness Vasylyna was especially difficult because of the ongoing war. However, despite these challenges and all the paperwork, Vasylyna was finally able to be transferred to the Netherlands on June 5th, 2023. She arrived at the sanctuary on June 7th, 2023, safe and sound.
Rescued from the war torn streets of Ukraine
In the beginning of 2023, FOUR PAWS received information that a young lioness named Vasylyna was wandering around in a village in Ukraine. Vasylyna used to be kept as a pet in the Kharkiv region, and had escaped. Luckily, Wild Animal Rescue was able to capture her and temporarily take care of Vasylyna at their rescue center near Kyviv with their dedicated team.
Happy young lion Nikola
Lion Nikola feels completly at home at FELIDA. His energetic and curious personality makes us smile every day. He enjoys discovering new things, eats well, is interested in our animal caretakers, and most importantly, he loves playing with anything that looks like a ball. We are thrilled to see the young lion thrive after the chaotic first few months of his life.
A special celebration!
On September 10th, we had a special party at FELIDA. Not only were we celebrating that Nikola turned 1 year old, but it was also his first birthday at our sanctuary! The handsome lion was over the moon with his special birthday enrichment and was playing with it for hours.
Growing into a strong confident lion
Shortly after arriving at FELIDA, the young and energetic Nikola had become too big for his adaption enclosure. He needed more space to play and roam, so we decided to move him to the former enclosure of tiger Tsezar. Nikola immediately started to explore his new environment and all the interesting smells.
Rescued from the streets of Montenegro
In January 2022, the local authorities in Montenegro asked FOUR PAWS for help with a young lion cub that had been kept illegally and had escaped into the streets. After 10 days, the hungry and tired cub, who got the name Nikola, as saved and taken to a safe place where dedicated volunteers looked after him. On June 20th, 2022, all the needed documents were prepared and Nikola was taken to his new home at FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary.