Hildegard Pirker: 15 years with FOUR PAWS

On 15 July 2020, we celebrate 15 years of an amazing human, and the guardian of our big cats here at LIONSROCK.


Hildegard Pirker, head of the animal welfare department at LIONSROCK, joined FOUR PAWS in 2005 after being a Chief Animal Keeper at Safari Park Gänserndorf (near Vienna). When the safari park went bankrupt in 2004, she invested a lot of personal energy and commitment into helping find a new home for the approximately 700 animals, and this is how her journey with FOUR PAWS started. In 2007, her life’s adventure begun: the transfer of ten lions from the former safari park to the newly opened LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. Since 2008, she has been responsible for the animal caretakers and the animals themselves.

Her commitment to the animals is incredible to witness. Those who know her understand that the animals always come first – without exception. Helping the animals, making sure they get the best care and are able to flourish is the source of her energy –the results are clear when you look at the big cats at LIONSROCK. Her entire life revolves around the lions, tigers and leopards that found refuge with us.

She is responsible for the well-being of more than 100 big cats – by no means an easy task. However, she knows each individual animal incredibly well and can immediately see when something is not right, when there’s opportunity to socialize animals and this makes her an invaluable asset to us.

Thank you for the amazing person you are, Hildegard, and giving the big cats of LIONSROCK their best second chance at life.

LIONSROCK BIG Cat sanctuary 

Find out how LIONSROCK became a place of refuge for rescued big cats

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