A new lease of life has been handed to five lions in desperate need of some TLC.
Dubai’s soon-to-open safari park has agreed to rehabilitate the big cats, some of which have been declawed by their previous owners, making it impossible for them to be returned to the wild or mix with lions with claws.
The Lioness of Al Barsha, given the name after she was found nervously roaming the streets of the Dubai neighbourhood in January, is one the big cats that will have to receive special care and attention.
Those that haven’t been clipped will join nine lions imported from a zoo in South Korea in March, in the expectation they form a pride.
- PICTURES: Lioness found roaming the streets of Al Barsha
- PICTURES: Inside Dubai Safari Park
- VIDEO: Dubai Safari Park welcomes first animals
There are several other species that will be relocated from Dubai Zoo to the 119-hectare safari park in Al Warqa, expected to open in the final months of 2016. These include gorillas, birds, primates, snakes and a crocodile.
“A lot of the animals were dumped at the gates (of Dubai Zoo) at night or intercepted at the airport by customs officials,” Dubai Safari Project Manager Tim Husband was quoted as saying by 7days newspaper.
The main worry now for Dubai Municipality is that the opening of Dubai Safari will act as an excuse for other exotic pet owners to dump their unwanted animals.