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In an extraordinary display of compassion and unwavering dedication, Free The Wild worked with our partners on the ground in Israel, in a mission to rescue an illegally smuggled lion cub. We took on the responsibility of financing the entire operation and providing ongoing support and expertise, as we have done in previous joint efforts with our trusted partners, Warriors of Wildlife. Together, we have successfully rescued five lions, a tiger, and an Eurasian brown bear from the war-ravaged Ukrainian Warzone, and now we share in the success of another successful rescue!


Our hearts were deeply moved by the plight of this lion cub, who gained significant attention on social media platforms such as TikTok, where videos of his captivity went viral. Months of meticulous planning and coordination culminated in the safe relocation of the cub, now known as Zion-Niv, to the Simbonga Game Reserve & Sanctuary in South Africa. Here, he will finally experience the freedom and care he deserves.


Zion-Niv, once named Abu Malek, was illegally brought into Israel and subjected to inadequate living conditions across various locations. While the Israel Nature and Parks Authority confirmed that he was in reasonably good health, they discovered indications of early weaning and an inappropriate diet during his time in captivity.


Due to being raised without exposure to a traditional pack structure, reintegrating Zion-Niv into the wild would be an immense challenge. However, at the Simbonga Game Reserve & Sanctuary, our dedicated partners at Warriors of Wildlife Ukraine, who specialize in rescuing and rehabilitating animals affected by conflicts, will provide him with the opportunity to socialize with other young lions.


We are immensely grateful for the collective efforts that led to the success of this rescue mission. We recognize the unimaginable cruelty Zion-Niv endured when forcibly separated from his mother shortly after birth. It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge his inability to return to the wild and his destiny to live a life in captivity.


We humbly appeal for donations to support Zion-Niv's ongoing care and to continue supporting our partners and the other animals in their care. Donations will cover daily care, food, veterinary services, security measures and the general maintenance of his spacious enclosure, which spans approximately 3000 square meters.


We've included a number of heart-warming photos from the Simbonga Game Reserve, showing Zion-Niv settling into his new sanctuary home, where he now has ample space to roam, run, and play. We commend the Israel Nature and Parks Authority for recognising the significance of moving him our of the country and back into an environment that promotes his natural behaviors and grants him the freedom he deserves.


Our collaboration with Warriors of Wildlife and our unyielding determination to safeguard Zion-Niv's future are a testament to our unwavering commitment to protecting animals in captivity and advocating for their rights. This successful rescue not only secures Zion-Niv's well-being but also serves as a powerful message to our ongoing efforts to combat illegal wildlife trafficking and provide sanctuary for animals in need.

There are still so many animals that need our help across the world. A small donation from you today makes a big difference for animals suffering in captivity across the globe, so please, spare what you can and help us to give them the freedom and space that they need and deserve.

Thank you all for continuing to support us and our partners. Without you, none of this would be possible.



Free The Wild is continuously involved in a number of international wildlife rescue missions.

Please donate today to help us make them a success.

Image by Karl Anderson
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