4 lion cubs rescued from war-torn Ukraine arrive at Minnesota sanctuary
SANDSTONE, MN. (Northern News Now) - Four lion cubs rescued from war-torn Ukraine have arrived at their new home in Sandstone, Minnesota.
The young cubs, who are between four and five months old, were born in breeding facilities in Ukraine and orphaned during the ongoing war with Russia.
Their names are Taras, Stefania, Lesya, and Prada.
They were flown in from Poland Tuesday where they have been getting care for the past three weeks.
The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone and the International Fund for Animal Welfare partnered to give the animals a better life.
Meredith Whitney, the wildlife rescue program manager for International Fund for Animal Welfare, said the cubs’ arrival marks the final step in their long journey after surviving bombings and drone attacks in Ukraine.
“There were daily drone attacks in Odesa, and then there were bombing attacks very close to them while they were in Kyiv, and then they started a 36-hour journey across the border to Poland,” Whitney said.
The Wildcat Sanctuary has a specially designed habitat for lions where the cubs will live together as a pride.
Founder and Executive Director of The Wildcat Sanctuary Tammy Thies said it costs the sanctuary around $10,000 every year to care for each cat.
“It is a large financial commitment up to 20 years, and it’s one we’re willing to definitely make,” Thies said. “This was a very special rescue, and they’ve already worked their way into our hearts here at the sanctuary.”
Right now, the cubs are in an indoor enclosure so they can rest after their flight and get checked by the vet.
They will get to explore their outdoor habitat in the next few days.
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