International wildlife charity, Born Free released a heart-warming short film of its Co-Founder Virginia McKenna OBE’s emotional 10,000 km journey to rehome lions Nelson and Ciam at Born Free’s Big Cat sanctuaries in Shamwari Game Reserve, South Africa.
The film, shot last month and also featuring Born Free Patrons Jim Moir (Vic Reeves) and Nancy Sorrell, includes the tear-jerking moment Nelson and Ciam step out onto African soil for the first time.
Nelson was rescued from a French zoo that fell into liquidation in April 2015. Ciam was confiscated from a garden in Southern France where his owner kept him illegally as an ‘exotic pet’ in November 2015. Both lions were rescued by French animal rescue charity Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis and were living in a temporary home at Natuurhulpcentrum rescue centre, Belgium, until Born Free offered them lifetime care in South Africa.
Nelson and Ciam are now settling into their new lives at Shamwari. Born Free’s Animal Care Manager, Glen Vena, said: “Ciam looked at home from day one. Just like a lion, he owned his enclosure and his presence is felt by our other lions at the centre. Nelson looks great too and eats very well, however he is going to take a bit more time to get used to his new home. He is exploring his main camp slowly, but does not look scared or uncomfortable at all. He is just being him.”