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Air France KLM Martinair Cargo Transports Lions Vasylyna and Nikola to South Africa

On April 25th, lions Vasylyna and Nikola embarked on a significant journey from FELIDA, a specialized sanctuary for big cats in the Netherlands, to LIONSROCK, a vast sanctuary managed by FOUR PAWS in South Africa. They boarded a Martinair Cargo 747 freighter aircraft, marking a new chapter in their lives.

“Air France KLM Martinair Cargo played a crucial role in facilitating this journey, utilizing its expertise in transporting wild animals. The airline's dedicated animal hotel at Schiphol, staffed by experienced professionals, ensures the welfare of animals throughout the trip. Mirjam Scherer, Global Head of Specials Logistics at Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, emphasized the commitment to providing top-notch care for animal passengers, including special diets, medication administration, and ample love and attention.”

Both Vasylyna and Nikola have remarkable backgrounds. Vasylyna, a lioness, was originally kept as a pet in Ukraine, escaping and wandering through war-affected streets before being captured and relocated to a temporary shelter. Nikola, also a lion, was rescued from illegal private possession in Montenegro and brought to FELIDA after being found exhausted and malnourished.

“ Petra Sleven, director of FOUR PAWS, highlighted that while it's unfortunate they couldn't be released into the wild due to illegal trade, their relocation to LIONSROCK offers them the opportunity to live in a large sanctuary surrounded by other lions, providing a more natural life.”


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