Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Monday, February 4, 2008

Leopards Rescued from Monaco Zoo

This is a great story about one woman's perseverance in obtaining the release of two lifelong captive leopard siblings. They will spend the rest of their days in the Shamwari game reserve where Born Free has two fenced-off sanctuaries.

The British actress and wildlife conservationist {Virginia McKenna} had spent 10 years trying to rescue Pitou and Sirius from Monaco Zoo, campaigning for them to be re-homed by Born Free, the animal welfare organisation she founded 25 years ago with her late husband, the actor Bill Travers. (Before the leopards were moved to the zoo, they were with a French travelling circus.)

McKenna went to Monaco nine times and begged courtiers to be allowed to ask the late Prince Rainier to grant these predators freedom. They wouldn't even let her see him.

But Rainier's heir Prince Albert, upon assuming the throne, was moved and gave his permission for their removal.

Shamwari, which means friend in Shona dialect, is a managed, enclosed 30,000-acre reserve teeming with wild lions, leopards, giraffes, rhinos, hippos and cheetahs as well as kudus, antelopes, zebras and eagles.

...Born Free has been given two fenced-off sanctuaries where it has re-homed big cats, most of whom had been cruelly treated. Even here, they must be restricted. They have not learnt to hunt for themselves and would perish if allowed to roam.

The Born Free sanctuary where Pitou (the name means little donkey) and Sirius (little star) now have their a conservation centre for students.

Photo by Mara 1.

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