Cheryl Williams

Fundraising for The Big Cat Sanctuary
raised of £150,000 target
by 1668 supporters
Donations cannot currently be made to this page
Participants: Yorkshire Wildlife Park
The Big Cat Sanctuary

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RCN 1104420
We care for big cats and fund conservation to protect them from worldwide extinction


For Anetta and 13 other kings and queens of the jungle - some too weak to stand or even roar - the future is looking very bleak, they  are to be SHOT unless something is done to save them.

The squalid, ramshackle Romanian zoo that has been their home all their lives has been condemned as unfit for animals by the European Union.

And its director has no money to build proper enclosures to replace the tiny 15ft by 12ft cages into which up to FOUR lions at a time are crammed.

So today we are launching a fundraising campaign . . . to help these manigficent animals roar with pride again.

"We cannot afford to do any more for them," said Daiana Ghender, 43, who is in charge of the state-run zoo built 37 years ago under the communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. "I feel terrible when I look at them. They are sick and do not have the space for their bodies."

Caesar, head of the pride, is barely able to walk. His once mighty muscles have atrophied for lack of exercise. He shares his cage with females Annetta and Alis, both seven, and their two cubs. Like all the lions here they sleep on a concrete floor, live in their dirt and are covered in sores.

Most were bred into their hellish captivity at Oradea Zoo. "It was originally created to keep the people happy," said Daiana. "At first there were only a couple of lions. Now we have too many and there is no way to keep them apart to stop them breeding further."

Sickeningly, some visitors to the zoo laugh at the lions' plight. "There is no money and little food for them," said a tearful Daiana. "Any money we make goes straight to the government. "It upsets me so much to see them like this." Soon the zoo will have no choice but to put the animals down.

There is only one way they can escape their fate. Backed by the News of the World, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park wants to bring all the lions to Britain. They need to raise £150,000 to ship the animals to the UK and create a proper enclosure for them to live in comfort.

The park in Branton, near Doncaster, was alerted to the lions' plight through a charity in Romania called SOS Zoo. John Minion, animals director, said: "I went to Romania to see the lions and was shocked.

"The zoo director Daiana and her staff are passionate about the animals and have done what they can. It would be an absolute tragedy if the lions had to be put down.

"We need to get all 14 to Britain as soon as possible. We have seven acres of land we want to develop for them."

Gerry Brudenell, of SOS Zoo, added: "If people in Britain help, it will save the lives of 14 beautiful creatures."

Here's what you can do

HELP save these tragic lions by sending donations to the Wildlife Heritage Foundation who are collecting donations on the Yorkshire Wildlife Park's behalf.

You can make a donation  here using Justgiving or you can  donate electronically to the fund from your online bank. The Barclays account number is 00623016 and the sort code is 20-20-37.

Or you can send a cheque made payable to the Wildlife Heritage Foundation to: Save The Lions, Yorkshire Wildilfe Park, Branton, Doncaster, DN3 3NH.

Please visit to keep upto date with our campaign


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About the charity

The Big Cat Sanctuary

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1104420
The Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent is working to help save endangered cats from extinction. Our Four Pillars of Ethos are Welfare, Breeding, Education & Conservation. Housing around 50 wild cats, from the world’s largest, the Amur tiger to the most endangered, the Amur leopard. Open by appointment only.

Donation summary

Total raised
+ £9,027.30 Gift Aid
Online donations
Offline donations

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