blog: Nala and saeed

LIONESS meets a friend at LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary


Nala arrives at LIONSROCKS

On 11 October 2018 Nala arrived in Johannesburg from Spain and was transferred to LIONSROCK and released in her temporary enclosure.

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The release

Nala is finally home.


Nala has settled in very well. Her favourite activity is playing with the enrichment our volunteers prepared for her. She is also very curious and always watching everything around her. Over the past weeks, we saw that Nala was the one seeking friendly contact with Saeed, but he is not responding in the same way. We are still hopeful that this might change in the future.  So what’s next? Once Nala is confident enough, we will let them explore each other’s enclosures and evaluate their behaviour again. Stay tuned


We are very excited to say that there are promising signs showing more interaction between Nala and Saeed. They're regularly spending time close to each other in their enclosures and during one enrichment it looked like they wanted to "play together".

The lonely days of lion Saeed, rescued from a Syrian zoo by international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, are numbered. On 11 October, lioness Nala moved into the enclosure next to him. Nala comes from an illegal circus breeder in France and was rescued by AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection. After completing her long rehabilitation in Spain the lioness has finally arrived at the FOUR PAWS Big Cat Sanctuary LIONSROCK in South Africa. There she will be paired up with her neighbour Saeed.

Young lions like Saeed and Nala are very social animals who feel most comfortable in the company of other big cats. Due to their similar age, there is a good chance that the socialisation process of the two animals will run smoothly. "We assume that Saeed, who was born in captivity during the war, lived together with other big cats in Syria. He clearly shows signs that he needs company. With his new neighbour Nala we believe we have found the perfect companion. They now have all the time in the world to get to know each other through the fence. If there is interest on both sides, Saeed and Nala will move into a shared enclosure," explained Ioana Dungler, Director of the Wild Animals Department at FOUR PAWS.

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