Watch Jora and Black’s epic 10,500-mile journey from Bulgaria to South African sanctuary
Washington, D.C., January 20, 2016 – This week the Born Free Foundation has released a heartwarming video of two ex-circus lions who were successfully rescued from Bulgaria and now thriving in their new South African home.
Eight-year-old brothers Jora and Black made international headlines when they were rescued by Born Free from a beast wagon in Bulgaria more than three months ago.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of the Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA, “Thanks to generous public support, Born Free was able to transport Jora and Black 10,500 miles via the United Kingdom to their new life and forever home at the Shamwari Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Their story has a happy ending; no wild animal should suffer in unnatural, cruel captivity, and Born Free will save every one we can until wild animal circuses are a thing of the past.”
The seven minute video, made available for the first time this week, reveals how Born Free successfully rescued the lions, and shows the highly emotional moment the brothers were released from their traveling crates and stepped out onto African soil for the first time.
Born Free Foundation Projects Manager, Karen Pettman, said Jora and Black had settled into their new home quickly. “We are delighted that they have now adapted to their spacious home at Born Free’s Big Cat Rescue Centre on the Shamwari Game Reserve. Jora and Black clearly love being together and are very playful with each other. They are also becoming firm favorites with the center’s visitors, who they will often come out to say hello to, chasing each other along the edge of their enclosure.”
Taken in as small cubs, Jora and Black were originally part of a circus act touring Eastern Europe and Turkey. Following the Bulgarian government’s much-welcomed ban on the use of wild mammals in circuses, the lions were left to languish in a stifling beast wagon until the owners agreed to re-home them with Born Free. They will now be given lifetime care in their large, natural, and safe accommodation at the Born Free Jean Byrd Education and Rescue Centre in Shamwari.
The release of the video comes as Born Free declares 2016 the Year of the Lion to highlight the plight of lions worldwide and to mark the 50th anniversary of the motion picture Born Free, starring Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA co-founders Virginia McKenna and her late husband, Bill Travers as pioneering conservationists Joy and George Adamson, and their successful rehabilitation of Elsa the lioness to the wild. Screenings, activities, news, and events are planned throughout 2016.
The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. We rescue animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care. Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles, and many more species in their natural habitats, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. Our high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers, and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. For more information about Born Free, please visit www.bornfree.org.uk.
Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.