4 Lion Cubs Rescued From Ukraine, Brought To The Wildcat Sanctuary In Sandstone

SANDSTONE, Minn. — 4 special animals were brought to The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone after being rescued… all the way from Ukraine.

These animals are lion cubs, and they were flown in Tuesday afternoon.

Their names are Taras, the only boy, Stefania, and Lesya who are 4-month-old siblings, as well as Prada who is 5 months old.

Prada was alone and brought to join the siblings as a pride. She is currently trying to welcome herself in by playing with the others.

The Wildcat Sanctuary and the International Fund for Animal Welfare partnered in this rescue after learning the lion cubs had been born at breeding facilities in Ukraine during the war, and then orphaned at just a few weeks old.

They were then brought to a zoo in Poland, where they have spent the last few weeks. The Wildcat Sanctuary team flew all the way to Poland to bring them back to Sandstone.

Tammy Thies, Founder and Executive Director said, “This has been a whirlwind and to see these cubs finally safe here at sanctuary is the best feeling I could have ever hoped for. They were able to make the trip sooner than we thought so they’re home for the holidays. And to know that they will never have to move again, and they’ll get to live their lives out here at the sanctuary, is the best feeling ever.”

The sanctuary says this has been a long process and did not know the cubs would be able to come home till they were on the plane.

“This has been on and off on and off so many times. There’s been so many times that we thought this couldn’t happen or it couldn’t happen for months. Up until the moment we were on the plane and had all the permits signed and that’s a big tribute to our partner IFAW. We didn’t know until we stepped foot on that plane that we were actually be able to bring them to the U.S.,” said Thies.

The Wildcat Sanctuary says that the rescue part is just the first step in the rest of the cubs’ lives.

The lion cubs will live as a pride, where they’ll live on an acre of land being able to roam as if they were free. To be involved in the cubs’ journey, check out The Wildcat Sanctuary’s website or Facebook page.

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