Two days ago, we said goodbye to our iconic lions Bella and Simba. Their health had been in decline for some time, and despite the best possible care and treatment, we all agreed that the range of health problems these lions were facing had become too much. After much deliberation, and with Bella and Simba’s best interests as the priority, we made the sad decision to put them to sleep.
We are proud to have been able to give Bella and Simba a good quality of life for so long, away from the cruelty they experienced in their early life. These lions stood for so much that we work to highlight – the need to expose the futility and cruelty of zoos and circuses, the inevitable problems that can come from a life in captivity, the need for excellence in rescue and animal care, and the amazing resilience and dignity of animals who have been through so much. We thank everyone who have supported them over the years, especially the Born Free Foundation, Olsen Animal Trust, David Walker and Natuurhulpcentrum Opglabbeek.
Born Free had recently sent our consultant vet John Knight to examine Bella and Simba – you can read his observations and his thoughts here.
And finally, a lovely quote from Virginia McKenna OBE.
“These two beautiful animals will always be alive in our hearts. I shall never forget travelling with each of them on their journeys to Malawi, knowing that kind, caring people would be there for them until the final moment came. And so it was. I am so grateful to all the people who helped us rescue Bella and Simba and give them a happy life- one they truly deserved.”