It’s international lion day every day for FOUR PAWS

This international lion day, we explore how our sanctuaries champion the safety and security of the iconic big cat every single day.


At our specialist big cat sanctuaries, FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary in the Netherlands and LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa, every day feels like international lion day, with 102 lions calling these spaces and our other cooperation projects home.

Many have been rehomed from the illegal big cat trade, or other unsuitable and often cruel situations. At our sanctuaries, they are provided with a natural and species-appropriate home where they can thrive.

This week, five Romanian lions were transferred from FELIDA to LIONSROCK, where they can put their endless energy to good use as they explore the spacious South African surroundings.

How do we do this?

We provide a species-appropriate environment for all the animals we care for.

But what does this mean? Well, we ensure that the animals in our care have new homes that offer:

  • a spacious natural environment that allows an animal to establish, and follow, their own daily routine.
  • minimal interactions with humans. 
  • a space that incorporates and follows the natural landscape.
  • opportunity to bathe, climb, roam, run and explore the different scents and textures that they may have encountered in the wild.
  • non-food or toy enrichments to encourage manipulation and play.
  • natural behaviour encouraging scent trails or items to entice natural hunting instincts.
  • opportunities to experience social structures that fit their species-specific and individual needs.

How do FELIDA & LIONSROCK differ?


Situated in South Africa, LIONSROCK is the biggest of our big cat sanctuaries and covers a staggering 1,250 hectares. 101 rescued big cats (lions, tigers and leopards now call this home). All enclosures are several hectares in size, consisting of open grassland with bushes and trees. In all the enclosures, shelters have been constructed that can be used by the animals as resting places and natural structures provide them with the possibility to hide and shelter from the elements. Also, the enclosures are circular in shape and follow the natural shape of the land. This ensures that the animals are never in a corner and provides a borderless feeling.


FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary in the Netherlands, focuses on providing intensive and specialised care for traumatised big cats (predominantly tigers and lions). These big cats come from a number of backgrounds, such as circuses, private keeping and war-torn zoos, and have often had a difficult life before FOUR PAWS rescued them.Due to lives spent in the vicious cycle of the big cat trade, some of our cats need life-long, special care and rehabilitation at the sanctuary while others might recover from their trauma, thanks to the individual care they receive.If they recover, both physically and mentally, a transfer to LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary, our larger sanctuary in South Africa, is considered, just like with the five young lions rescued from Romania.

If you’d like to learn more about our work with big cats, take a look here.

Or why not support the incredible work our sanctuaries do right here?

Whatever you do, and however you do it, make your voice heard for lions today!


sign our petition here

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