Saturday, 24 April 2010


An injured lion is one who is at risk of infection, attack by the others in the group and may also become more agressive to handlers. This was the case for one poor lioness in one of the local zoos. During a routine inspection of the zoos, the team reported back that there was a lioness with a very bad cut to her front leg.
It was reported that a vet had not been brought in to tend to her wounds but rather her handler had haphazardly tried to stitch up her, not once but three times and each time with no success.
We quickly got into action and negotiated and managed to get her over to New Hope for the treatment she was in need of.
In order to ensure that she would be safe in the enclosure, we had to do some very quick reinforcements to the enclosure which once housed Hope...
Tha'ir getting to work on cutting the tubes.
Ilyas sets about welding the new mesh on the enclosure.

Finally she arrived. Although the wound was deep, thankfully it seemed clean. Unfortunately the fact that the wound is so old it has to be treated as an open wound, as any more stitching will not work.
We quickly settled her in her new home and she immediately dived into the straw and very quickly fell asleep, after inspecting her surroundings, listening to nothing but the sound of the wind and birds around her which is a far cry from the terrifying sounds of the zoo.

Friday, 23 April 2010

New arrivals...

There is never a dull moment at New Hope, and we are tremendously thankful that we may offer the treatment  to so many of the animals which are in need.

A few months ago there was a little cub in one of the local zoos who was being kept in terrible conditions and his physical state was even worse. He was on the initial list of animals to be confiscated. This is how he was being kept...
This poor little cub was in a bare enclosure, lying on a torn up matress with the horrifying sounds of the games around him and having things thrown at him by the 'visitors' at the zoo. When the team arrived at the zoo they were informed that there was no key. They were then told to move on. two minutes later this poor little cub had disappeared! We have been searching for him since January, our hearts breaking at the thought of where he was being kept.
Perseverence and sheer determination over the past few months has finally paid off! This little cub was finally found and is now nestled in a clean enclosure with lots of things to play with and a nice deep bed of straw!

He has a long process of healing ahead of him - he has no muscle especially in his hind quarters and we have a long way to go with assuring him that he can trust us. For now he is enjoying lying in the sun and playing with the various things we have put in for him and no longer will he hear the sounds of the games and screaming children which so obviously effected him adversely. His main job is to relax and heal!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Settling in...

We awoke early the next morning anxious to see how the little ones were doing in their new enclosure.

First we passed by Cleopatra who ignored us magnificently! We expected no less. She was obviously pleased with her new home which sits next to a little river, surrounded by trees, with a glorious view of the park. She sat in her new home and after turning her back on us washed herself very deliberately sending us the clear message that she was happy to be here; our job was done!

As for the cubs - there is not much I can say other than the fact that they were feeling very much at home and after a big breakfast set about playing, basking in the sun and harrassing their neighbours! We were very pleased that they did come to us to say good morning, but only very quickly as there was much playing to be done!

The teenagers in the next enclosure are very interested in the new arrivals. Hope and the cubs are very quick to show them that although they may be smaller they are still very 'big' lions and they have no problem going straight up to them hissing and spitting!

As we left them that morning we knew, without a doubt that they would be happy here and looking around Lionsrock it was easy to believe that anyone and anything would be happy here!

Friday, 16 April 2010

The Release...

The moment had finally come. After an 11 hour flight and a further 3 hour car journey across the beautiful plains of Africa, they had finally come home.

We stood on the the top of the hill, a group represented by more than fifteen countries, such as; The Congo, France, Austria, Romania, South Africa, The United States, The Netherlands, Egypt and of course Jordan, waiting to welcome the animals home. On the road at the bottom of the hill we finally saw the transport vehicle enter the park and there was a tangible feeling of elation amongst the whole group.

The first to be released were the magnificent French lions whose roars echoed across the park. Needless to say they were anxious and confused about what was going on and took time to realise they were safe. These particular lions were to be sold for a 'canned' hunt where lions are sold to people who then organise 'hunts'. Canned hunts are where hunters (who may pay up to 40,000 Euros) shoot animals who have been put in their path, often drugged, just to allow them the "satisfaction" of killing these magnificent creatures. For these lions, Vier Pfoten intervened and they will now spend the rest of his days safe at Lionsrock.

Next it was time for our lions and serval - the moment we had been waiting for and not really believing it would come. The whole party moved over to the enclosure where Hope and the cubs would be released...

The crate was in position at the entrance of her new enclosure and finally the time had come. Everyone held their breath, waiting to see if Hope would come out or prefer the crate, which is sometimes the case...

The door of the crate was opened and we all watched, and Hope very slowly took a couple of paces towards the enclosure. She needed some reassurance so Riyadh, who had cared for her during her time at New Hope, started to call from across the enclosure and lo and behold; Hope took her first steps into her new home...

Her first few steps were slow and steady as she tried to figure out what on earth the soft green stuff under her feet was! There was not a dry eye in place as we all watched with delight. Hope then headed straight for Riyadh; it was now her turn to reassure him that she was alright, although she was a little stiff from the extensive travelling.
Yet again - Hope was the star of the day as we all watched through our tears; tears of joy, tears of relief that she had made it.

We turned our attention to the next important task at hand; the cubs, now it was their turn. Again we got their crate in place and had a quick look inside before we opened up for them to join Hope.
Although they were a little anxious and unsure about what was going on we hoped that they would leave the confines of their crate to enjoy their new enclosure.

Carefully we opened the door of the crate and waited... Khawla took a few steps towards the entrance and we gently urged the others to do the same, but we were not so lucky. Hope! That is who we needed. We called her over and she answered our calls almost as if she knew she was to be reunited with her little friends. Closer and closer she came as the crowd watched in awe at the very big heart of this little cub. As soon as the four cubs saw her, they trundled out of the crate almost falling over their own paws. The five of them were off and running united after a very long trip, anxious to discover their new home together.
Now that we were sure the young pride was well, there was still one more task at hand...Cleopatra who was waiting patiently in her crate. Again the crowd moved on to the temporary enclosure made for Cleopatra, and for the final time that day, the crate was in position and opened. True to form, Cleopatra did not wait long. No sooner had the crate had been opened, we saw her elegant face appear from within and with a few sniffs of the fresh air and the lush green grass Cleopatra emerged from the crate and immediately went off to explore her new surroundings with not as much as a look at the crowd gathered around her or us! We who knew her in Amman were overjoyed and expected nothing less of our proud, graceful and brave friend.

There is a special plan for Cleopatra, after the winter she will be released on the park where she will be free to roam and meet the other wild Serval Cats who live within the beauty and safety of Lionsrock.

As we went to bed that night our thoughts were full of the events of the day. Five lions cubs and one Serval, all who had been kept in terrible conditions prior to coming to us, had made their final journey and at long last they were home. We fell asleep listening to the calls of the lions across the African plains, understanding even more what an honour it had been to be allowed into the lives of these magnificent animals.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Touchdown in Jo'burg...

Our small group was ushered into a room at the cargo area in Johannesburg airport where we would await the arrival of our animals. "Just a few more minutes until landing" we were informed. Those minutes felt like hours; our anxiety at seeing the animals and making sure they had arrived safely was almost more than we could bear. This was our very first animal transfer but it was amazing to be a part of the process which was so proffessionally done by the team from Vier Pfoten and Lionsrock. Mr. Helmut Dungler and Dr. Amir Khalil reassured us at every step of the process that everything would be fine. Their experience and expertise and that of their team was visible and yet again inspiring!

Finally Marina (the vet in charge and our dear friend) popped her head round the corner, "They're here! I've seen them and they are all safe and well". Hearing those words was like music to our ears as we hurried along to a quiet area in the back to finally see them.

Marina opened up each one of the crates and we were able to see the animals for ourselves. Cleopatra, maintained her customary dignity and although interested in what was going on around her, was composed and elegant as always.
Hope was the star of the show. When her crate was opened she was clearly happy to see familiar faces, giving everyone a chance to tickle her ears, and showing off for the press who were there en masse to witness the very first re-homing of animals from the Middle East. The little ones were not as impressed and stayed in the back of their crate gaining much needed comfort from each other, while managing to pull some scary faces at the same time!

After many pictures were taken and a number of interviews given, our lions and serval were loaded onto the transport vehicle along with two adult French lions who had been rescued from a zoo in Toulouse, to begin the final leg of their journey home to Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary in Bethlehem, South Africa!

Hardly able to contain our excitement and relief at the fact that they had arrived safely, we piled into our cars and set off on the final leg of the adventure...

The first leg...

Thursday the 8th of April 2010 is a day we will remember for many years to come; it was the day we said goodbye to our precious lion cubs and serval. They are on their way home...

8:00am we met at the New Hope Centre to start loading our precious cargo into their crates for their journey home. The first in was Hope who, although a little confused about what was going on, graciously obliged! Next were the cubs, Arandas, Muhawish, Amra and Khawla who with a fair bit of spitting and running around were safely loaded too. Finally it was Cleopatra's turn who, despite all the commotion, remained true to her form and took everything in her stride.

Once the crates were loaded onto the transport vehicle I climbed inside and tried to assure them all that although it would be a long trip it would be worth it in the end!

As we watched the truck pull out we all said a silent prayer that they would reach their destination safely. We turned back to the empty enclosures with a feeling of sadness but also true hope as they were finally heading home...

None of this would have been possible were it not for the support of ARAMEX who have very graciously sponsored the transport of these magnificent animals back to where they really belong. To ARAMEX we will be eternally grateful.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Working Team...

Last week a working team from PAF went to the local reserve where a number of the confiscated animals were sent in order to start their rehabilitation programme. PAF has supported and continues to support the reserve through the provision of extra food for the animals and medical support.

One of the founding principles of PAF is 'partnership' and it is one which PAF works hard to maintain as the more we work together, the more we may achieve...

Moving one of the hyenas to a separate enclosure.

Our vets preparing to treat one of the hyenas.

Checking and cleaning the wound. 

The hyena was then put back in his hide to recover quietly under the watchful eye of the team.

All in all a good day's work...