In January 2020, photos of famished lions in a zoo in Sudan circulated the globe and immediately caught our attention. Due to a lack of financial resources, the animals were left to starve. So we went there to help them.
Our rescue team was in the capital Khartoum, where the big cats and other animals were starving in the Al Qurashi Family Park. The Sudanese authorities granted the team, led by FOUR PAWS veterinarian Amir Khalil, permission to enter the country and provide the animals with urgently needed food and medical care.
The FOUR PAWS team consisting of international wildlife experts and veterinarians evaluated the situation on-site, making sure the lions are properly diagnosed, treated and able to recover from their ordeal. The big cats were extremely malnourished. Read more here.
“We were shocked by the pictures of the gaunt lions. It was clear to us that we had to act quickly because the animals would not last much longer. As soon as we are on site, we will provide the severely malnourished lions with proper food and medical care.The highest priority at the moment is to stabilise and improve the health condition of the animals, and determine long-term solutions for them.”
FOUR PAWS veterinarian and head of the emergency mission Amir Khalil
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Friday, 11th November
After years of effort and multiple challenges, it finally happened! Kandaka and Mansour were physically able to be transferred to Al Ma'wa for the special treatment and rehabilitation they so urgently need. In joint collaboration between FOUR PAWS and Princess Alia Foundation (PAF), and with the support of Sudan Animal Rescue (SAR) and Sudanese Wildlife Authority, we were able to transfer the two Sudanese lions and bring them into their new species-appropriate home, the Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife sanctuary in Jordan.
Friday, 2nd September
We are doing our utmost to help animals in need. Sometimes we have to take a step back since we want to honour processes and get all the necessary preparation in place to take animals into our care.
We sincerely hope to transfer Kandaka and Mansour soon from Sudan to Jordan. Until then, here is a summary of all the steps we have taken to help these two lions during our missions to Sudan.
Tuesday, 3rd August
Sometimes rescue missions don’t go as planned...
Dr Amir Khalil, the entire on-site team, as well as Dr Frank Göritz from the IZW (Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research) prepared everything needed for the transfer of the two lions from Sudan to Jordan. Several months and weeks went into this complicated process, but last minute, it didn’t work out as planned due to political reasons and bureaucratic obstacles in the unstable country.
The fact that we had to leave Kandaka and Mansour behind, deeply saddens us, but we won’t give up and we will keep on trying to finish this mission successfully!
Friday, 22nd July
Our hands are tied...
Due to the current unstable political and security situation in Sudan resulting in bureaucratic obstacles, we unfortunately have been forced to pause the mission for now. Our team were on the ground checking and providing treatment to Kandaka and Mansour. We were ready and hoping to bring them to Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife sanctuary, a cooperation project between the Princess Alia Foundation and FOUR PAWS in Jordan.
But as we, unfortunately, cannot guarantee a safe transfer of Kandaka and Mansour at the moment, we had to make the hard decision to postpone our mission, leaving them in good care with our partners at Sudan Animal Rescue.
We will always do our best to give animals a species-appropriate home for a lifetime, so we will continue to fight for these two lions!
Wednesday, 20th July
Our team arrived in Sudan!
After weeks of preparation and logistics planning, Dr Amir Khalil and our team travelled to Khartoum. During the next few days, they will be busy preparing for the challenging transfer of Kandaka and Mansour. We are working closely together with Sudan Animal Rescue – the local organisation that has been caring for the lions over the last two years. The team has a long list of tasks to complete. Today, they began work on the transport crates and Dr Khalil examined Kandaka and Mansour. He will begin conditioning the lions for their transfer to Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife, our partner sanctuary in Jordan, where the big cats will get the medical care they need and the species-appropriate life they deserve.
In 2020, lioness Kandaka was only skin and bones, slowly starving to death in the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo in Sudan. It was a race against time, but our team of experts managed to save her with the help of local activists. For much of the COVID-19 pandemic, FOUR PAWS could not enter Sudan, therefore, the local organisation Sudan Animal Rescue took care of Kandaka and fellow lion, Mansour. Now we can finally go back and bring Kandaka and Mansour to one of our sanctuaries, to ensure they get the needed medical attention and a fresh start in life.
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions it is not possible for FOUR PAWS to enter Sudan at the moment. However, FOUR PAWS is in constant contact with the local volunteers, who look after the remaining animals in the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 and the lockdown in Sudan it is very hard for the volunteers to organise regular visits to the zoo. We stick to our commitment to provide food and care for the animals and currently have to rely mainly on the zoo staff and on our local partner Sudan Animal Rescue.
Monday, 2nd March
Mansour is a fighter!
We are delighted to see the improvements of one of lions who was starving at the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo in Sudan. Mansour is continuing to gain weight following the specialist diet provided by our wildlife experts and dedicated local volunteers. He is getting stronger each day and is making huge improvements which we’re delighted to be able to share with you. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for supporting us throughout this mission. Keep supporting our work in Khartoum and donate today.
Tuesday, 25th February
Kandaka’s examination results!
The overall health condition of Kandaka has improved significantly since we provided the urgent first aid and started her treatment. After suspecting sight issues of the lioness, we were now able to conduct a thorough examination lead by Dr Frank Goeritz.
The big cat is suffering from cataract in at a very early stage in her right eye, and more advanced in the left one. Additionally, Kandaka’s kidneys are impaired. She is still very fragile and in the long run will require constant monitoring by experts, a species-appropriate place to live and special husbandry, diet and medical care.
We will continue to provide food and medicine for the animals at Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo until a long-term solution is found together with the wildlife authorities. Currently, a suitable facility to provide Kandaka with the special medical care does not exist in Sudan.
Friday, 21st February
Education is power!
Renown wildlife veterinarian Dr Frank Goeritz, and a team of FOUR PAWS staff, will perform a thorough examination of lioness Kandaka. Yesterday, we were invited to give a theoretical and practical training session on the basics of wildlife veterinary medicine and conservation at the Veterinary College of the Sudan University of Science and Technology. The students were extremely interested to gain some of the experience of one of the leading experts in the field and the lecture hall was full of students and graduates from the college. The highlight of the training was the use of the darting for anaesthesia and the diagnostic equipment. Keep following our updates as we will inform you about the outcome of Kandaka’s examination, which will be performed in the next days. Sustain our mission in Sudan and donate today.
Tuesday, 18th February
Update about the hyenas!
Our team on-site continues to care for the animals at the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo. The two hyenas, named by our local volunteers as REVA and MEMI, have had sand put on the floors of their enclosures, as the concrete was causing wounds for their paws.
For Reva, who is pregnant with three cubs, extra attention was needed. She has been equipped with a large cardboard box, so she is able to hide and rest. Inside, the team put a bed of straw and soft fabric. Both the hyenas are enjoying their new enrichment.
Thursday, 13th February
Update about Mansour!
After last week's developments, Mansour had time to settle back in his original enclosure at the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo. As most of you know, the Sudanese authorities relocated the lion to another zoo without our knowledge. Our vet, Amir Khalil, had to intervene because the new surroundings did not meet the requirements for the fragile big cat. Therefore, Mansour was brought back, where we can keep a close eye on him together with our volunteers on-site.
Just like Kandaka, he is making great progress as we continue to provide medical care and nutritious food for him. Additionally, we've given the lion stimulating enrichment for him to play, stretch and scratch on. His health keeps steadily improving and Mansour is getting stronger by the day!
Please keep Mansour in your thoughts.
Tuesday, 11th February
Teamwork is key!
Since the beginning of our Sudan mission, the FOUR PAWS team on-site has been working closely together with local volunteers to help the suffering animals at the Qurashi Family Park Zoo. All our Sudanese volunteers are young vets, who have recently, or are about to graduate. They are committed not only to help the animals from this zoo but also to promote animal welfare in the whole country and change the public perception about veterinarians.
Our vets Amir Khalil and Frank Goeritz trained them while examining the lions, hyenas and other wild animals. They impressed us all with their empathy, knowledge, skills and motivation. We want to say THANK YOU to Osman, Mudather, Hadeel, Ekrima, Yasseen and Wishah!
You are all amazing and we couldn’t do all of this without you! Get involved as well and donate today.
Monday, 10th February
Update about Kandaka!
Our vet, Amir Khalil, is keeping a close eye and monitoring the animals at the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo in Sudan.
Over the weekend, he examined the lioness Kandaka and has found she is making huge improvements. She is already getting much stronger and since, has great improvement being able to use her hind legs. We are suspecting that the big cat has some sight issues, but she needs to undergo a full medical checkup to find out for sure. At the moment it is too risky for her to undergo anaesthesia for this kind of examination.For now, our team is glad, that Kandaka is doing great and moving around.
The lioness has a strong will to survive and is definitely a fighter. Please keep Kandaka in your thoughts.
Friday, 7th February
Recent developments in Sudan!
In the past days, we have been in negotiations tirelessly with the Sudanese government in order to find a species-appropriate home for the animals. The wildlife authorities announced that Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo will be closed down. Yesterday, the government stated that the animals needed to be moved as quickly as possible, and evacuation of the animals began without our knowledge. The tortoises also found at the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo have been moved to a wildlife centre, a facility with a better environment for their needs.
Unfortunately, Mansour, one of the two lions in a particularly bad state, was brought to another zoo, however our assessment of the location showed that it was considerable less suitable for his welfare. Our vet Amir Khalil immediately contacted the Wildlife Department and recommended that the lion was brought back for us to continue the needed care for his condition. Our concerns were heard by the Sudanese government and Mansour was returned. Together with local trained volunteers and supporters, we will continue our care, providing food and medical treatments for him and the other animals. The first step is to provide Mansour with small new enrichments, like palm trees for him to stretch and scratch on.
We appreciate the cooperation and assistance of the wildlife authorities in Sudan, and will continue to work in close contact on finding a sustainable solution for the animals. Currently, following our assessment we have not found species-appropriate zoos or parks in the country fitting for Mansour, Kandaka and the hyenas.
FOUR PAWS will continue to work hard on finding a sustainable solution for the animals. Please support our ongoing work in Sudan.
Wednesday, 5th February
The pregnant hyena.
Our team in Sudan were surprised to find out that one of the hyenas is pregnant with three cubs and will give birth in about two months. We are very concerned about her. Often, when wild animals give birth in inappropriate conditions and feel unsafe, they prefer to eat their newborn offspring rather than expose them to future danger and suffering.
Therefore, hay, water, food, and shelter for the upcoming delivery have been placed in her cage by our team and the Sudanese volunteers. As the well-being of her and the other animals is our primary concern, we want to make sure she feels safe and not exposed. With this in mind, we have to use temporary and unconventional solutions while we work with the Sudanese authorities to negotiate long-term accommodation for all of the animals from Al Qurashi Family Park.
Thank you for your patience with this situation, we know you have questions about the future of the animals at the zoo and we will update you in due course!
Donate here and continue to follow our updates.
Tuesday, 4th February
The two hyenas at Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo.
Before our arrival in Sudan, we were told that there were other animals in horrible condition besides the four lions. According to the information we received, there were also two hyenas: a male and a female who had both been living at the zoo for three years.
During our vet check, we got several surprises. The “male” hyena turned out to be female, about 4 to 5 years old. Additionally, the ultrasound scans confirmed one of them is pregnant with three cubs and is currently at the beginning of her third trimester.
Our vets Amir Khalil and Frank Goeritz also confirmed that both hyenas' teeth are in bad condition and the wild animals have worn out the pads of their paws due to the concrete cages. The second hyena is also female and a bit older, 6 to 8 years old. The two have received antiparasitic treatments, vaccines, infusions, and have also been microchipped. This vet check served as one of a series of practice sessions Dr. Goeritz offered for young Sudanese veterinarians.
Monday, 3rd February
Another daily update from Sudan.
Here is another look at the current mission in Sudan. Besides Kandaka and Mansour, the two other lions, a male and a female, have received special care from our emergency team on-site. Since these two lions arrived in Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo only two months ago, they are in much better condition than Kandaka and Mansour. Still, the female already has bowel issues due to the improper feeding. The two lions, as well as the other animals on-site, are receiving species-appropriate food and medical attention.
Please keep the animals in your thoughts and support the mission team on-site.
Sunday, 2nd February
Kandaka is now recognising the FOUR PAWS team and the local volunteers. Whenever the team return to Kandaka, she waits nervously for them to approach, and waits eagerly to be fed. The emaciated lioness is responding well to here medical needs, the specific feeding times and is supportive of the help being provided to her. Day by day, it is easy to be seen her increased mobility, reduced lethargy and the general look of her body and fur improving. However, we still have a long way to go.
We are hoping the best for this good news to continue.
Saturday, 1st February
Emaciated male lion Mansour shows signs of improvement. Mansour, one of the two lions in especially critical condition, seems to be responding positively to the therapy which was started after his medical examination performed by Dr Frank Goeritz, the FOUR PAWS team together with local vets. Like Kandaka, Mansour is looking much better and was eagerly waiting for his meals.
The team is very pleased with the response of the animals to the treatment and their unstoppable will to survive.
Friday, 31st January
Amir Khalil’s team continues to take care of all the animals at Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo, undertaking further medical examinations. The remaining two lions, a male and a female, were examined under full anaesthesia. They are in much better overall condition than Kandaka and Mansour as they have been in the zoo for only two months. Nevertheless, the female is showing intestine issues due to improper feeding. Both lions have been treated against parasites, vaccinated, and microchipped: blood samples for further analysis were also taken.
The examination was also a great opportunity for young local veterinarians to gain experience working with one of the leading world experts on wildlife: Dr Frank Goeritz.
We are happy to see the condition of the animals gradually improving as a result of the species-appropriate food and the minor enclosure enhancements that we have provided.
Please keep your fingers crossed and support us.
Thursday, 30th January
The FOUR PAWS team on the ground continues to work tirelessly to improve the health conditions of the animals at Al Qurashi Family Park zoo.
Lioness Kandaka is slowly improving and responding positively to the therapy. The team are providing her with food with medication inside it, which she is accepting well. She was even eagerly waiting for the team to feed her this morning. The team is taking this as a positive sign! Kandaka is a real queen like her name suggests. "Kandaka” is the title given to the Nubian queens of ancient Sudan whose gift to their descendants is a legacy of empowered women who fight hard for their country and their rights. In more recent times Sudanese were referring to female protestors in the 2019 revolution as “Kandakas”.
Thursday, 30th January
Another day in Sudan brings promising news.
The team have continued their work at Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo with a medical examination of the emaciated male lion. The vet check was combined with a training session for local vets. The lion was named Mansour, which means “Victorious” in Sudanese. Much like Kandaka, Mansour was also dehydrated but is healthy enough to be anaesthetised. He was examined with ultrasound, which showed signs of early stages of chronic kidney disease. Our vets Amir Khalil and Frank Goeritz have started the treatment and Mansour was also vaccinated, microchipped, and treated against parasites.
The team will continue to monitor the animals closely.
Wednesday, 29th January
Yesterday our team started emergency treatment of lioness Kandaka, she is emaciated, weak and on the brink of coma. This was the first step on the long road to a possible recovery. The team on-site was relieved to see that the infusion therapy seemed to show the first positive results. They are fascinated by the strength the lioness shows. Still, we all need to prepare that this could change any minute. The health of the animals at Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo is extremely fragile.
Tuesday, 28th January:
There is a ray of hope.
After several hours of infusions, lioness Kandaka showed some improvement. She was able to stand up and walk for a while, and what is even better – she was willing to eat. The team provided her with canned cat food, which is the best food to start off after such a long time of severe malnutrition. Our team will continue to do their best to help improve her condition.
Please keep your fingers crossed and support us.
Tuesday, 28th January:
Infusion therapy for lioness Kandaka goes on for a couple of hours. Our team is ready to stay with her as long as it takes for Kandaka to get as much of the life-saving medication as she can. So far, she is doing well, but it is too early to say whether she will be able to recover from years of mistreatment.
Please keep your fingers crossed and support us.
Tuesday, 28th January:
The team has started the rehydration treatment for Kandaka, the poor lioness who is fighting for her life. The next hours will be critical for her and the team. The rehydration therapy involves infusion of fluids, vitamins and minerals. She is a fighter and we hope will fight to survive.
Tuesday, 28th January:
Our team is shocked by the conditions on-site! Yesterday our team visited the Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo and found that the living conditions are horrendous – the animals have very little space to move. There are four lions, two male-female couples, and two hyenas, male and female. Two of the lions are in very critical condition. The male lion is very emaciated and limping with the front right limb, the lioness is even in worse condition. She is dehydrated, malnourished, has almost no muscles and weighs only a third of the normal body weight for a lion. Despite the poor chances to save her, our team is determined to do everything possible to help her. Today our vets Amir Khalil and Frank Goeritz will start a rehydration therapy.
Please keep your fingers crossed for all the animals and support us.
Monday, 27th January:
Amir Khalil and his team arrived in Khartoum! Thanks to Osman Salih and Mansour Moshref, who started an online campaign to raise awareness about the animals in Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo, we’ve been informed about the state of the lions consistently in the past days. Now our team of wildlife experts and experienced vets arrived in Sudan along with equipment and medication. They are evaluating the situation on-site, making sure the lions are properly diagnosed, treated and able to recover from their ordeal. The big cats are extremely malnourished, and we hope it’s not too late for them. We want to provide these animals with the best possible care!
Thursday, 23th January:
In the past few days photos of the emaciated lions circulated around the world and caused an international outcry. Due to a lack of financial resources, the starving animals could no longer be fed adequately.