Lioness Rescued From Syrian Zoo Gives Birth at Sanctuary

Last month, animal advocates flew to an abandoned zoo near the war-torn city of Aleppo in Syria, and rescued a group of animals. Now, those advocates are celebrating the miraculous birth of a healthy lion cub who was born just hours after his mother arrived at a sanctuary.

Although compassionate people had previously cared for the animals at Aleppo’s Aalim al-Sahar zoo, or Magic World, many of them had died as a result of bombings, or had to flee the area.

An emergency rescue mission was launched by Four Paws International to get the animals out of there and to safety.  In partnership with volunteers, security experts and government officials, the organization successfully saved nine lives at the end of July, including three lions, two tigers, two Asian black bears and two hyenas, but more remained behind.

After the first group was moved, rescuers returned days later to get the remaining animals, including two dogs, a lion and a very pregnant lioness named Dana.

After a long journey, all of them have been successfully moved from Syria, through Turkey and into Jordan where they were taken to the Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife sanctuary.

Shortly after arriving, Dana gave birth to a cub, who was named Hajar, which is Arabic for “the immigrant.”

An ultrasound that was done during a stopover in Turkey revealed she was pregnant with two cubs, and her rescuers believe she waited until she felt safe to give birth. Although Four Paws said in an update her rescuers were worried the stress she was under might cause her to reject or attack the cub, she’s been a perfect and nurturing mother.

Now, they’re waiting and hoping for the birth of a second cub, which could happen any time.

“The birth of Hajar [the cub] is another little wonder,” said Dr. Amir Khalil, FOUR PAWS Veterinarian and Head of Mission. “We are blessed to not only have saved thirteen animals from Syria but, now fourteen. We really want to thank Royal Jordanian for pushing back the flight and waiting for all animals to be on board. Had this not been the case, the lioness would have given birth in a less appropriate environment that could have ended dramatically.”

Thankfully, the mission was a success and all of the animals who were suffering in Aleppo will now start over in entirely new lives. Dana’s new baby, will never know the life its mother did, and the rest will now be able to live out their days in peace, while getting the care they need. So far, it’s expected that most of them will be staying at the sanctuary in Jordan, while the tigers will be taken to Four Paws’ big cat rescue in the Netherlands, and the two dogs will soon hopefully be adopted.

For more updates and info on how to help, check out Four Paws International.

Photo credit: Four Paws/YouTube


Linda H
Linda H2 months ago

Thank you for this, I have just set up a monthly donation to Four Paws and it's good to read about the work they have been doing.

Gino C
Past Member 3 months ago

That's good. Thanks.

Angeles Madrazo
Angeles Madrazo3 months ago

Heartwarming ! God bless the animal advocates! Thank you

Beryl L
Beryl Ludwig3 months ago

Thank you PAWS

Melania P
Melania Padilla4 months ago

Awww so glad this mama is safe now. No animals should live/be left in war zones, in HUMAN WARS. Four Paws International thank you!

HEIKKI R4 months ago

thank you

Margie FOURIE4 months ago

Very nice, but what has happened to her partner?

Glennis W
Glennis W4 months ago

Gorgeous mother precious baby Just so awesome Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W4 months ago

Just so awesome Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W4 months ago

Just so wonderful Greatest news of the week Thank you for caring and sharing