An 18-month-old lion this morning arrived at the animal rescue centre in Oudsbergen in Limburg province. Simba was discovered a year ago, living in a brothel near Moscow.
No-one has been able to find out how the cub – as he then was – came to be living in a brothel, but the question does not phase shelter staff.
“A lot of things are apparently possible in Russia,” Sil Janssen of the centre told De Standaard.
“This lion is 18 months old and was taken from the brothel. The Born Free Foundation paid for the trip. They want to transfer the animal to Africa, but apparently that was not possible directly from Russia. That is why our centre was called in. The transport of the lion to Africa will be successful from here.”
The trip will be a long one for the young lion.
“The lion was examined in Russia and is healthy,” said Janssen. “The transport went smoothly to the Russian border. Entering Europe presented some difficulties. At the Russian-European border, the drivers had to wait twelve hours for the go-ahead.”
The first priority, however, is for Simba to go into quarantine.
“First he goes into a temporary cage here until the quarantine is lifted. Then Simba moves to an outside cage until a transport to Africa is arranged. Due to the coronavirus it may be that he will have to stay with us longer. But that remains to be seen,” Janssen said.