Lion World Travel Helps Return Abused Lion ‘King’ To Africa
Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw
King is home free.
Africa safari specialist Lion World Travel has played a special role in rescuing a lion cub that was abused by its owner and confined to a small cage in a Paris apartment.
Thanks to a sponsorship from Lion World Travel and other conservation partners, the one-year old cub affectionately given the name ‘King’ recently arrived at his “forever home” in the Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa where he now has ample natural space to roam free.
Discovered by French authorities in OCT 2017, ‘King’ had been living in terrible conditions and was kept illegally. At the time, the cub was only a few months old. He was then taken to a temporary home at the Natuurhulpcentrum wildlife rescue centre in Belgium which specializes in the rehabilitation of sick and injured wild animals.
It was then that his journey home began. In partnership with the Born Free Foundation and Shamwari Game Reserve, Lion World Travel helped by sponsoring King’s journey back to South Africa where he will receive lifetime care at the Big Cat Rescue Centre at Shamwari Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape.
More than a year following the start of his ordeal, King departed Belgium on 5JUL for the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary in the Shamwari Game Reserve. The Born Free Foundation’s mission is to “keep wildlife in the wild” with a focus on taking in captive big cats living in poor conditions and giving them the opportunity to live freely in large enclosures in the natural environment.
The multi-national effort comes on the heels of the TreadRight Foundation’s recent ‘Big Cat Fund’ announcement that will help to ensure the planet’s most at-risk wildlife populations are protected. The TreadRight Foundation is Lion World Travel’s not-for-profit partner in sustainability.
King’s rescue has become a global rallying cry for conservationists. The African lion is considered one of the most endangered species on Earth, with only 23,000 remaining according to estimates, with 15 African countries already declaring them extinct.
Coupled with the threat stemming from recent reports indicating more lion hunting permits have now been issued under the current U.S. administration’s rollbacks on protections, King’s story is just one of millions of wild animals under threat.
“At Lion World Travel, we are proud to support King’s journey. With his fantastic start to his new life in South Africa, we are happy that King will finally be able to live the life he deserves: free and in a home fit for a king,” said Cris David, President of Lion World Travel.
“We have always been committed to protecting Africa’s big cat populations and thanks to the incredible support we receive from our guests, we are able to make positive contributions to stories just like King’s. Thank you to Shamwari, Born Free, Kenyan Airways and everyone else who has been involved in making the end to King’s story such a happy one,” added Lucille Sive, CEO of The Travel Corporation's Africa Division.
The Shamwari Private Game Reserve, King’s new permanent home situated near Port Elizabeth, is a 25,000 hectare game reserve established in 1990. Guests have the opportunity to experience and learn about the area’s incredible ecological diversity, home to five of South Africa’s seven biomes, on Lion World Travel’s nine-day ‘Tented Safari in Style’ adventure.
Three nights are spent at the reserve, where guests will also have the opportunity to visit King’s forever home at the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary.