Rescue of a lion cub in Montenegro

FOUR POTS – Foundation for Animal Protection

A document

Survivors of illicit trafficking in wild animals:

FIRE PAVERS transfers lion cub Nikola from Montenegro to Holland

Zurich, 23 June 2022 – The global animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS has successfully transferred a lion cub, rescued from illegal private breeding in Montenegro, to its large cat sanctuary FELIDA in the Netherlands. The trip took place via Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Germany. The lion Nikola finally arrived at his new home on June 21st. The baby, now nine months old, was found by Montenegrin authorities in February last year. He had fled his detention center and had been wandering for ten days in the streets of Budva, on the Adriatic coast.

FOUR PAVERS played a leading role in the search and rescue of the exhausted and hungry lion cub during the first aid given on the spot. Currently, more and more young big cats are being offered for sale as pets or for entertainment purposes in Southeastern Europe. These animals are victims of the illegal wildlife trade, which every year causes suffering to millions of wildlife around the world.

FIRE PAWS partnered with the Montenegrin Environment Administration (EPA) and the local NGO “Center for the Protection and Research of Birds of Montenegro” (CZIP) to provide Nikola with care and temporary accommodation. During the preparation of the transfer to the Netherlands, FOUR PAWS experts visited the site several times to examine Nikola and perform a minor but acute operation.

On June 20, a FOUR PAWS team accompanied by a wildlife veterinarian from the Leibnitz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) began the journey with Nikola to his new home. After traveling more than 2,000 kilometers and crossing six borders, he arrived safely at the FELIDA large cat sanctuary.

“We thank the Montenegrin authorities and the CZIP for their commitment and effective cooperation in finding a solution for little Nikola. Although he was quickly treated on the spot, there are simply no suitable accommodation options for a young lion in Montenegro. That is why it is so much “More importantly, Nikola will now receive tailor – made care at FELIDA. He will be able to recover from his turbulent first months of life and become a powerful lion with perfect health,” explains Barbara van Genne, head of wildlife rescue at FOUR PAWS.

Illegal trade in wildlife is on the rise in south-eastern Europe

“This case illustrates a much broader problem involving illegal private commercial herding, breeding and trafficking in big cats throughout south-eastern Europe. This trafficking involves interactions, private possession or circus performances. It is legal in most European countries but is often used as cover. In recent months, we have received various reports of young lions and tigers being offered for sale or found in private custody in Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro and Northern Macedonia. We assume that these animals are traded illegally between these countries. “We urge governments to enforce effective laws and strictly enforce them to protect wildlife from exploitation,” said Vanessa Amoroso, director of wildlife trade at FOUR PAWS.

In Montenegro, wildlife can be kept in circuses, zoos and private homes, provided they have a license issued by the EPA and meet minimum standards. FOUR PAVERS demand a ban on the presence of wild animals such as lions, tigers and bears in circuses and in private homes. In addition, a clear licensing system must be established, limited to zoos and circuses. FOUR PAWS and EPA together want to impose it on Montenegro.

A home for traumatized big cats

FELIDA Big Cat Home in the Netherlands is one of the wildlife rescue centers operated by FOUR PAWS worldwide. It is a specialized care center for large cats suffering from physical and mental trauma. Recovering big cats can be transferred to the LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. Others need lifelong special care and become permanent at FELIDA. Currently, in addition to newcomer Nikola, eight rescued lions and a tiger live on FELIDA.

QUATRE PATTES est l’organisation mondiale de protection des animaux sous influence humaine directe, qui révèle leurs souffrances, sauve les animaux en détresse et les protège. Fondée en 1988 à Vienne par Heli Dungler et des amis, l'organisation plaide pour un monde où les humaines traitent les animaux avec respect, compassion et compréhension. Les campagnes et projets durables se concentrent sur les chiens et chats errants ainsi que sur les animaux de compagnie, les animaux de rente et les animaux sauvages – tels que les ours, les grands félins et les orangs-outans – vivant dans de mauvaises conditions de détention ainsi que dans les zones de catastrophe et de conflit. Avec des bureaux en Afrique du Sud, Allemagne, Australie, Autriche, Belgique, Bulgarie, Kosovo, Pays-Bas, Royaume-Uni, Suisse, Thaïlande, Ukraine, USA et Vietnam ainsi que des refuges pour animaux en détresse dans onze pays, QUATRE PATTES fournit une aide rapide et des solutions durables. La Fondation est en outre un partenaire d'Arosa Terre des Ours, le premier refuge en Suisse qui offre aux ours sauvés de mauvaises conditions de détention un environnement adapté à l’espèce.


Photos and videos

High resolution images can be downloaded here.

Video material is available here.

Copyright: se metadata

The use of photos and videos is free. They may only be used to report on this press release. For this report only, a single (non-exclusive, non-transferable), non-transferable license is granted. Future reuse of images and videos is only permitted with the prior written consent of FOUR PAWS.

Video : The broadcaster is obligated to use the copyright when broadcasting. The reference to copyright can be made either by inserting the original logo, or by inserting the inscription “VIER PFOTEN -global Tierschutzorganisation”, or by verbally informing the viewer that the owner of the material is “VIER PFOTEN -global Tierschutzorganisation”.

Austrian law is applied without its reference standards, the place of jurisdiction is Vienna.

Contact Médias 
Sylvie Jetzer
Communication Suisse
Enzianweg 4
8048 Zurich
043 311 80 90

Leave a Comment