When FOUR PAWS took over the property, 24 lions were taken over from the previous owner, with Scratchy being one of them. The 17-year-old lioness, eventually had to be taken out of her group and moved to one of the special-care enclosures, where she lived for many years.
Neo and his family Pride were the first group of animals transferred to our newly established sanctuary in November 2007. Before the rescue, the 20-year-old male lion lived in the so called Safaripark Gänserndorf in Austria. Neo was a soft-natured lion who was the youngest of his pride and the last lion born at former Safaripark Gänserndorf. He left behind the remaining two females of the pride; his older half-sister Kiara and aunt Anna, who with her 24 years is the oldest lion currently at LIONSROCK, and who we can only hope will still be with us for a while.
Lioness Nora was used and exploited as a circus animal and ended up in the Netherlands. In the summer of 2014, the lioness was brought to LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa from FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary. After arriving at LIONSROCK, Nora was attacked by her siblings and later on expelled from the little pride. The team of LIONSROCK moved Nora to another enclosure where she met again with her old and new neigbour: Giovanni. Right from the beginning Giovanni started showing signs of interest in the beautiful lioness. Eventually, after living next to each other for a long time with a lot of positive interactions, the two lions were socialised on September 19th, 2018. Read more about Nora here.
The 18-year-old male tiger was rescued in November 2013 from Starlight Circus in Germany, along with his three brothers Pascha, Shir-Khan and Douglas. Prinz was the shy one of the four brothers and had the strongest bond with Douglas, with whom he was inseparable. Since his arrival at LIONSROCK they lived together in a two-hectare enclosure with trees, open grassland, shelters and lookout platforms as well as a big pool. He could not have had a better environment or a safe haven than this, coming from a life in a circus trailer, which he shared with his brothers for so many years. Read more about Prinz here
The 16-year-old lioness was one of the many youngsters left behind by the previous owner of a breeding farm in South Africa. The property was taken over by FOUR PAWS in 2006 and the breeding farm was transformed into the sanctuary, LIONSROCK. This group of at the time one-year-old lions from different litters, formed the biggest pride at the sanctuary for many years and Sahara was part of it until the end.
Tom was one of the two caracal males left behind by the previous owner before FOUR PAWS took over in 2006 and transformed the breeding farm into LIONSROCK. Being the shyer one of the two brothers, he was more comfortable in the thick vegetation of his enclosure with a lot of private space. However, he also enjoyed regular visits from volunteers, especially when they brought him enrichment. Since his previous history is unknown due to having a different owner, the on-site team estimated his age to be around 20 years old, which is quite advanced for a caracal.
20-year-old lion Zac's journey began alongside his partner, Donna, who accompanied him from the zoo until her passing. Zac held a special place in the hearts of our dedicated caretaker team, who showered him with love and care throughout his journey.
Tarzan was a 20-year-old lion, who lived in a neighbouring enclosure from his daughter Sara and another female for many years.
Lioness Sara arrived at LIONSROCK in April 2013 when she was less than a year old. She lived in a Romanian zoo together with her parents, who spent their entire lives in small concrete cages and smelly rooms. Sara was suffering from dwarfism and rickets, due to malnutrition and lack of sufficient sunlight. After the zoo lost its permit, FOUR PAWS was contacted by the municipality and asked for help. At the end of 2013, all big cats from that zoo were rescued by FOUR PAWS and transferred to LIONSROCK. Against all odds, Sara recovered from her severe physical impairment within the first six months after her arrival and developed into a beautiful lioness but was found to be completely deaf. But Sara coped well with her deafness and lived a happy life for many years.
Caruso was rescued by from a private big cat facility in the Netherlands. In 2014, FOUR PAWS took over the facility and transformed it into FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary. At the time of his rescue, Caruso was showing symptoms of stress and displaying stereotypical behaviour. However, with the special care provided by our team at FELIDA, he made significant progress. Eventually, in 2019 he was deemed healthy enough to move to LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary. The beautiful tiger finally had the opportunity to enjoy a good life in a natural environment. Despite the physical and mental scars of his past, Caruso remained a friendly tiger with a strong will and a gentle heart. We are very proud that he could spend the last four years of his life at LIONSROCK. Read more about Caruso here.
Siba's journey was one of hardship and confinement, as she, along with her companions, endured the confines of cramped concrete cages and a less-than-ideal environment. However, when the zoo lost its permit, the municipality reached out to FOUR PAWS for help. Through the unwavering dedication of FOUR PAWS, all the magnificent big cats found sanctuary and solace at LIONSROCK by the end of 2013. At the age of 23, Siba was the eldest lioness among her pride.
Kimba was born on the property in 2002 when it still belonged to the previous owner. As a game breeding and hunting farm, all animals existed only for one purpose: to make money. Kimba soon became a wonderful big male, and his life was supposed to end in front of a riffle, being killed by a trophy hunter. He was lucky and thankfully escaped this fate when FOUR PAWS bought the property and with it several lions like Kimba, destined for a life in the breeding and hunting industry. Escaping this industry, Kimba has become an independent lion who likes watching his neighbours from below his tree. Read more about Kimba here
Ghenges was one of the many youngsters which were left behind by the previous owner, when FOUR PAWS bought the property and transformed the breeding farm into a sanctuary. He lived together with his brother Khan and initially 12 females and was the dominant male of the pride.
Marion was part of our big cat family since her arrival at LIONSROCK. In July 2009, FOUR PAWS was informed about plans for a transfer of one male lion from the African Safari Park Zoologique, in Southwest France, to a lodge in South Africa. An investigation into the potential purchaser showed that the lodge was involved in the canned hunting business. In response to this new information, the zoo stopped the planned transfer and in December 2009 they agreed to transfer Mario along with his sister Marion to our big cat sanctuary. All these years they were sharing a 1 ha enclosure and had a great brother and sister relationship. Read more about Marion here
The 16-year-old white lion male arrived at our big cat sanctuary in November 2019 with his sister Uhuru. We know that the siblings were born on the property before FOUR PAWS took over and were sold to a private person as cubs. The previous owners were breeding especially with white lions, as their white appearance makes them more valuable on the market. Unfortunately, the captive gene pool is not divers enough and many breeders will keep on breeding with related animals.
Lion Giovanni spent the first months of his life as a 'photo cub' on Italian beaches. Eventually, Gio ended up in the Netherlands, where FOUR PAWS found him at the end of 2013. He was very unhappy and had almost no mane left. Thanks to intensive care at FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary, he was doing much better, and he could be transferred to LIONSROCK in South Africa at the end of 2015. Here he also found a partner: lioness Nora. We had to say goodbye to Gio at the respectable age of 18, after his health deteriorated drastically. Read more about Giovanni here
Tavi was one of the first arrivals from one of the closed and rundown Romanian zoos. He arrived at LIONSROCK in 2009 with two other lions. Lioness Aurica also arrived with them, but she was living in a separate cage in the zoo, however the onsite team managed to successfully socialize her with Tavi a year later.
Lidia arrived at LIONSROCK in 2015 with four other lions from a closed and rundown zoo in Romania. Despite all difficulties in life, Lidia had managed to enjoy and live in peace since her arrival at the sanctuary. She was a lovely lioness.
The 20-year-old lion was one of the first lions rescued by FOUR PAWS in Romania, from a private owner who used him as a “photo lion”. He lived a happy life at our big cat sanctuary since June 2008, and was one of the first animals arriving at the newly built sanctuary. Jazz lived with lioness Savannah since 2010, who is five years younger and helped keep him young at heart.
The 17-year-old lioness, who was rescued from Timisoara Zoo in Romania, together with two other females, lived at the sanctuary since July 2012. When rescued, she had no name, so her caretakers named her Mosa, meaning “grace” in Sesotho. Over the years with us, Mosa had found a new partner, lion Tarzan and since 2015 they lived happily together. The two showed an instant connection when we introduced them, and both enjoyed each other’s company.
15-year-old lion TJ, who arrived with his partner Ruby at our sanctuary in July 2020 had an unfortunate but typical start in life in the captive lion breeding industry in South Africa. TJ was one of the lucky few lions who thanks to the determination and good will of one woman, was given the love and care he deserved and the chance to live in dignity and happiness.
Juno was born in 2000 in a zoo in Great Britain. In 2002 she and her partner Cromwell were brought to Nijeberkoop, where they had two litters. Four of the tigers from these litters were still in Nijeberkoop when FOUR PAWS took over the centre. In 2015, Juno, Cromwell and their four descendants were transferred to LIONSROCK, where they were given more space. The tigers adapted well to their new environment. In 2021 we had to say goodbye to Juno, who was then the oldest tiger at LIONSROCK, due to age related ailments.
Donna and her companion Zac were rescued by FOUR PAWS in September 2013 from former Romanian zoo Onesti together with eight other big cats, after the zoo was closed down and all big cats faced an uncertain fate. By that time of her rescue, Donna was already 14 years old, but she finally got the chance of a much better life, which she enjoyed for many years at LIONSROCK
Saeed was one of the rescued big cats from a private zoo in war-torn Aleppo/Syria who found his forever home at LIONSROCK in February 2018. Being on his own and just over 2 years old at that time was not easy, because usually a lion would grow up with its mother and siblings. Saeed adapted quickly and despite his past, was a friendly young lion, who enjoyed the attention of humans. His brave and innocent spirit won the heart of everyone who met him. Saeed was always ready for some action and interested in everything around him. His playfulness was always fun to watch when he was given enrichment regularly.
Kongo was, together with his sisters Nora and Neida, born in 2003 and forced to perform in a circus for years. They lived already in the centre in Nijeberkoop when FOUR PAWS took over the facility and named it FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary. In 2014 Kongo was one of the first six animals that made the journey from FELIDA to LIONSROCK. Here, Nora was expelled from the group. Kongo and Neida remained together. Unfortunately, in February 2020 we had to say goodbye to Kongo who suffered from a form of blood cancer.
Born in 2006, she was part of the biggest pride at the sanctuary, which consisted of 2 lions and 9 lionesses. The cubs had been taken from their mothers at an early age and used for petting at the lodge before FOUR PAWS took over.
Lioness Fiona was born in 2006 as one of 14 lion cubs from different litters bred by the previous owner. She is the first lion to die from the original 24 lions who lived on the property before FOUR PAWS transformed it into LIONSROCK, saved from the canned hunting industry to live in peace.
Leo and his siblings, born in 2007 at Braila Zoo in Romania, came to LIONSROCK in June 2008. Leo was always very curious and when the siblings arrived all just a year old without their mother to give them comfort and confidence, he was the one who showed them that they had nothing to fear. Leo was a real fighter who did not lose his spirit until the end.
Jerry was one of the two caracal males left behind by the previous owner before FOUR PAWS took over in 2006 and transformed the breeding farm into LIONSROCK. Jerry spent 11 wonderful years at LIONSROCK.
Simba was born in a German zoo in 2007 and ended up with her brother Pregan in Nijeberkoop in 2012. In Nijeberkoop the brother and sister belonged to a group of lions that did not have enough space at their disposal and they were therefore the first animals to travel from Nijeberkoop to LIONSOCK in 2014 after FOUR PAWS took over the facility. They enjoyed their time in the African sun, but in 2017 we had to unfortunately say farewell to Simba relatively early due to kidney failure.
Cromwell was born in 2000 in a zoo in Great Britain. In 2002 he and his partner Juno were brought to Nijeberkoop, where they had two litters. Four of the tigers from these litters were still in Nijeberkoop when FOUR PAWS took over the centre. In 2015, Cromwell, Juno and their four descendants were transfered to LIONSROCK, where they were given more space. The tigers adapted well to their new environment. In 2017 we had to say goodbye to Cromwell due to kidney failure and a tumour on his adrenal gland.
Gypsy was born in 2001 in a neglected Romanian zoo. The lioness had severe deformations and fused knee joints, probably caused by malnutrition or inbreeding. In 2009, she was brought to Nijeberkoop and in 2014, right after the take-over of the centre by FOUR PAWS, she was one of the first six animals that made the journey from FELIDA to LIONSROCK. There she got an enclosure in the special care unit. She adjusted well to her new life in LIONSROCK where the climate was beneficial for her joints. Nevertheless, already two years later, in 2016, we unfortunately, had to say goodbye to Gypsy.