Lions rescued from war zones, rehoused in Africa

An animal welfare group has rescued two lions from zoos in combat zones.

Simba and Saeed have both been rehoused at a 'forever home' in South Africa to live out their days in a more peaceful setting.

Simba was found emaciated and traumatised in Mosul Zoo in Iraq, and was rescued by animal welfare charity Four Paws. Most of the other 40 animals at the zoo either starved or were killed in bombings.

Diana Bernas, head keeper at the shelter Simba was taken to for recovery, told ITV the lion was "completely dehydrated and very, very skinny, where you could see all of [his] bones".

With careful treatment, Simba gained weight and confidence before being rehoused at Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa.

Two-year-old Saeed joined Simba at Lionsrock after being rescued from Magic World Zoo outside Aleppo, Syria. He had never walked on grass before, having been born in the midst of the Syrian conflict. 

"You can't image what it must feel like to feel grass under your feet for the first time," Four Paws South Africa director Fiona Miles told ITV.

"If we are sitting here today, the birds are chirping, the lions are roaring, it is completely peaceful.

"That's something these animals have never been exposed to, that type of peace."



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