WATCH: gearing up to rescue Danka and Ducey, two captive lions in Missouri
It was only less than a week ago that I was sitting among dozens of like-minded individuals who are spending their lives to protect, rescue, and care for captive big cats in the U.S.
The historic Big Cat Sanctuary Workshop, co-hosted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), has already produced fruit as we are gearing up for a rescue of two lions in Missouri, a collaborative operation that was a direct result of the networking fostered at the workshop.
A few weeks ago, a private owner in Missouri reached out to a nearby sanctuary requesting permanent placement for his two tigers and two lions, as he was not in compliance with a new state law and felt that it would be best for the animals to move to reputable sanctuaries. As better laws and regulations are put in place across the U.S. to safeguard public safety and provide for the welfare of big cats, we’re seeing an increase in the number of big cats looking for new homes.
After receiving the initial call, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR), a sanctuary IFAW has worked with in the past to rescue big cats, reached out to other sanctuaries and organizations for assistance as they could not take the animals due to full capacity. Other organizations were able to find placement for the tigers at Safe Haven Rescue Zoo in Nevada, while IFAW was able to locate a new, forever home for the lions at Cedarhill Animal Sanctuary (CAS) in Mississippi.
While the tigers are settling into their new digs, the lions, Ducey and Danka are still residing at the owner’s home in MO, but not for much longer. Tomorrow, a team comprised of IFAW, CAS, TCWR, a Missouri veterinarian, and our partners from Loving Friends Transport, will meet on site to load the lions for their final journey to their forever home.
The video below was sent to me only a few days ago, giving deep insight into the grave situation faced by Danka, the elderly lioness.
Estimated to be more than 16 years old, Danka is suffering from severe hind limb paresis (weakness of voluntary movement or partial loss of voluntary movement), either/and from inappropriate diet and spinal pain.
While the transport of a geriatric animal always carries risks, I firmly believe that it is our duty to give her the best chance at having a pain-free, quality life for her remaining years.
To do that, we must attempt to move her to CAS where she will be provided with a proper diet, pain management, supplements, and additional medical care from the veterinary school at Mississippi State University.
Sometimes doing the right thing is risky and full of difficult decisions, so we gratefully welcome any and all good thoughts and prayers for a successful transition for both Danka and her life-long companion, Ducey.
Danka and Ducey in Missouri before moving to their new forever home at Cedarhill Animal Sanctuary.