Thursday, 29 October 2020

Rescued from a Failing Zoo, Two Lionesses Celebrate FirstYear at new South African ‘forever home’

Written by
Rescued from a Failing Zoo, Two Lionesses Celebrate FirstYear at new South African ‘forever home’

After being rescued from the miserable conditions in a failed zoo in Southern Spain and moved to the Born Free Rescue Section atPanthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary, supportedbyIAG Cargo and British Airways Holidays, lionesses Alpha and Cora celebrate one year in their ‘forever home’, reports Born Free Foundation.

Lionesses Alpha and Cora were rescued in 2017 andcared for temporarily at Natuurhulpcentrum, a wildlife rescue centre in Belgium, before Born Freerelocated them to the Born Free Rescue Section at Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuaryin October 2019. The new section at was made possible by Born Free’s partner British Airways Holidayswho supported the building of Alpha and Cora’s new home in South Africa.Whilst Alpha and Cora were the first lions to arrive, it is hoped that the area will provide a safe haven for many more rescued big cats in the future.

The move was also supported byBorn Free’scorporate partner IAG Cargo, who provided the flights from London to Cape Town, ensuring the speedy and safe transit of the lionesses. Sincearriving at their new home, Alpha and Cora’s overall wellbeing has significantly improved,and the pair seem very content in their new surroundings. Now enjoying their golden years, they can finally put their previous life in the zoo behind them.

Born Free’s Animal Rescue and Care Manager, Maggie Balaskas, who travelled with the lionesses on their journey to a new and better life,tells us: “It is strange to think that this time last year Alpha and Cora had just arrived at their new home, it only feels like yesterday we were preparing for their life-changing journey. All of us at Born Free are delighted that Alpha and Cora have a safe and peaceful place to live out the rest of their years, and it is heart-warming to see them content and doing so well.

“We are extremely grateful to IAG Cargo who carefully looked after the lionesses on their journey to South Africa, and to British Airways Holidays for providing the essential support we needed to establish the Born Free Rescue Section which allowed us to rehome these two lionesses.”

John Cheetham, Chief Commercial Officer at IAG Cargo, said: “We were delighted to have supported Born Free with the relocation of Alpha and Cora, it brings us much pleasure to see the lionesses thriving one year on.

“With IAG Cargo’s global connections we are a trusted partner for many of the world’s most prestigious animal charities–and we’re committed to supporting the protection of endangered animals.Our Live Animals product has moved countless protected species to facilities around the world, but every shipment is unique and it’s always heart-warming to see how they progress.”

Claire Bentley, Managing Director at British Airways Holidays,said: “It is wonderful to hear that Alpha and Cora have settled in so well, and we are thrilled that British Airways Holidays was able to help facilitate their forever home. Our important long-term partnership with the Born Free Foundation underpins and supports our award-winning animal welfare policy and we look forward to our continued collaboration on future projects like this one.”

-- ENDS --

Notes to editors

About IAG Cargo

IAG Cargo is the single business created following the merger of British Airways World Cargo and Iberia Cargo in April 2011. With the combined strength of five airlines - British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling, and Level, IAG Cargo covers a global network of over 350 destinations.  

In 2019 IAG Cargo had a commercial revenue of €1,117 million. It has a combined workforce of more than 2,470 people. 

Its parent company, International Airlines Group, is one of the world's largest airline groups with 548 aircraft at 30th June 2020. It is the third largest group in Europe and the sixth largest in the world, based on revenue.

Please visit our Live Animals product page for more information, IAG Cargo has more than 60 years’ experience shipping live animals and is trusted by the world’s most prestigious animal charities.

About British Airways Holidays
British Airways Holidays is one of the UK’s leading, largest and most trusted UK holiday companies. It prides itself on providing great value holidays, with the quality expected from British Airways. Its extensive British Airways global network puts the business in a unique position to offer convenient flights and secure great deals to the most amazing destinations. Further information on British Airways Holidays can be found here.

About Born Free
Born Free was founded by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, who starred in the movie classic, Born Free (1966), together with their eldest son, Will. Born Free’s mission is to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. Born Free opposes the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigns to keep wildlife in the wild.

Born Free promotes Compassionate Conservation which strives to enhance the survival of threatened species in the wild and protect natural habitats while respecting the needs of and safeguarding the welfare of individual animals. Born Free seeks to have a positive impact on animals in the wild and protect their ecosystems in perpetuity, for their own intrinsic value and for the critical roles they play within the natural world. For more information about Born Free please visit:

Published in Energy and Environment