Rescue the cubs in Montenegro

VIER PFOTEN – Stiftung für Tierschutz

A document

Victims of illegal wildlife trade:

FOUR PAWS move the lion cub Nikola from Montenegro to the Netherlands

Zurich, June 23, 2022 – Global animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS has successfully transferred a lion cub, rescued from illegal private breeding in Montenegro, to the FELIDA big cat sanctuary in the Netherlands. The trip took place through Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Germany. Nikola the lion finally moved into a new home on June 21. The cubs, now nine months old, were found by Montenegro authorities last February. He escaped from custody and spent ten days wandering the streets of Budva, located on the Adriatic coast.

FOUR PAWS played a leading role in finding and rescuing the exhausted and hungry lion cub during on-site first aid. Currently, an increasing number of young big cats are being put up for sale as pets or for recreational purposes in Southeast Europe. These animals are victims of the illegal wildlife trade, which causes the suffering of millions of wildlife around the world each year.

FOUR PAWS have partnered with the Environmental Management Authority of Montenegro (EPA) and the local NGO “Center for the Protection and Research of Birds of Montenegro” (CZIP) to provide care and accommodation services. temporary stay for Nikola. In preparation for his transfer to the Netherlands, FOUR PAWS specialists visited the site several times to check on Nikola and perform a small but urgent surgery.

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

“We thank the authorities of Montenegro and CZIP for their commitment and fruitful cooperation in finding a solution for baby Nikola. Although the cub in Montenegro was quickly treated on the spot, there simply were no suitable accommodation options for the cub. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that Nikola is now in private care at FELIDA. He will be able to recover from the tumultuous first months of his life and become a strong lion in perfect health,” explains Barbara van Genne, wildlife rescue team leader at FOUR PAWS.

Illegal wildlife trade on the rise in Southeast Europe

“This case illustrates a broader problem encompassing the illegal private captive breeding, breeding and trade of big cats across Southeast Europe. This trade includes interactions, private ownership or circus performances. It is legal in most European countries but is often used as a cover for illegal activities. In recent months we have received various reports of lions and tiger cubs being sold or held separately in Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro and North Macedonia. We believe that these animals are illegally traded between these countries. Vanessa Amoroso, wildlife trade manager at FOUR PAWS, said we urge governments to put in place effective laws and strict enforcement to protect wildlife from exploitation.

In Montenegro, wild animals can be kept in circuses, zoos and private homes, as long as they have permits issued by the EPA and meet minimum standards. FOUR PAWS calls for 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 put in place, limited to zoos and circuses. FOUR PAWS and EPA jointly want to impose it on Montenegro.

Home for traumatized big cats

FELIDA Big Cat Home in the Netherlands is one of the wildlife rescue centers that FOUR PAWS operates around the world. This is a specialized care center for traumatized big cats. Recovered big cats can be moved to the LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. Others need lifelong intensive care and stay in FELIDA permanently. Currently, in addition to newcomer Nikola, 8 rescued lions and 1 tiger are living at 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.


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Contact Médias 
Sylvie Jetzer
Communication Suisse
Enzianweg 4
8048 Zurich
043 311 80 90 [email protected]


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