Once an unwilling resident of “Europe’s Worst Zoo”, Safari Park Zoo Fier in Albania, Lenci the lion has had a year of transformation thanks to the efforts of global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS and their supporters. Now, Lenci has all the nourishment, enrichment, and care that he needs as he spends the rest of his life at FELIDA Big Cat Centre in the Netherlands.
Due to the conditions that he was once kept in, Lenci’s journey with FOUR PAWS has seen him overcome a severe eye infection, a herniated disc, nerve damage to his face (which causes his eye, nose, and mouth to be appear crooked), two infected canines, and a cyst in his jaw. Now, one year on, he can stretch his paws and roam safely as the king of his own domain far from the concrete floor he once called a bed.
Weeks of intensive, specialised medical care worked wonders to reveal the true personality of Lenci. The animal caretakers at FELIDA now describe him as a friendly, funny, and active lion that loves to play. Every morning he welcomes the world with his impressive roar, a testimony to the majestic animal that he is.
Restoring this lion to his deserved glory has not just been a journey of physical recovery. The FOUR PAWS team travelled 52 hours and almost 3,000 kilometres to bring the Lenci to his new home (along with two other male lions), after investigating the zoo since 2015 and tackling with authorities to rescue the animals suffering there. Ioana Dungler, Director of the Wild Animals Department at FOUR PAWS, said:
“We are relieved that we were finally able to bring the lions to our special care centre. After years of torture they now finally get the specialised care they desperately need from our experienced team. In FELIDA they can enjoy the sun and grass in their new enclosure.”
Today, May 9, 2020, is a day to celebrate Lenci’s first anniversary at FELIDA Big Cat Centre! It is also a day to celebrate everything that made this rescue possible. Long live Lenci.
A Home for Traumatised Big Cats
The FOUR PAWS Big Cat Centre FELIDA in the Netherlands functions as a special care centre for physically and mentally traumatised big cats. The big cats that recover from the hardships of their past can then be transferred to the FOUR PAWS Big Cat Sanctuary LIONSROCK in South Africa. Others might need lifelong special care and stay at FELIDA permanently. At the moment, 1 tiger (Dehli) and 5 lions (Lenci, Bobby, Ivan-Asen, Masoud, Terez) reside at FELIDA.