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Meet Simba: Lion cub rescued from wildlife trade

A lion cub has been rescued from the wildlife trade in Russia, and is beginning a new life at a sanctuary in Italy.

Simba, named after the infamous Disney lion from The Lion King, was found abandoned in a cardboard box in a garage in Russia in 2020. The cub was just weeks old, and missing most of his fur due to a skin condition. Though it was thanks to his skin condition that Simba was abandoned, saving him from the cruel wildlife trade industry that he had been destined for. The Born Free Foundation, a UK based wildlife charity confirmed this in a statement:

“While little is known about how Simba ended up in such desperate circumstances, it is likely he is an innocent victim of the cruel wildlife trade and was discarded due to his poor condition.”

Meet Simba: Lion cub rescued from wildlife trade
Simba during his recovery at the Wild Nature Hospital in Russia. Image from Born Free Foundation

After being discovered, Simba was taken in by Wild Nature Hospital in Russia who nursed him back to health. Whilst they could not care for him long-term, they asked The Born Free Foundation to step in and help. The charity relocated Simba to a halfway house in Belgium called Natuurehulpcentrum whilst waiting for a permanent home. Eventually they found the perfect place, Animanatura Wildlife Sanctuary in Italy, which is already home to a lioness named Elsa. A generous donor covered the costs for his relocation and he could begin the journey to his new home.

Simba’s forever home

Meet Simba: Lion cub rescued from wildlife trade
Simba at his new home in Italy. Image from Born Free.

On June 13 Simba set off to his final destination in Italy. The now two year-old lion had a long drive, covering 800 km drive overland between the Belgium and Italy. He is settling into his new home; though he is being housed in temporary accommodation whilst his custom-built housing is finished.

Born Free is a wildlife charity that work effortlessly to stop the exploitation of animals in the wild and captivity. This is echoed in a statement from President and Co-Found, Will Travers:

“Born Free has always championed the importance of every individual wild animal. Simba is a symbol of that. He is an example of why saving lions from the worst forms of human exploitation — from the wildlife trade, circuses, zoos, or from canned hunting facilities — is so important to us all at the Born Free family.”

To donate to Simba’s expenses, visit Born Free’s website

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