Update on Big Cats in Crisis - The Big Cat Sanctuary

Update on Big Cats in Crisis

Celebrity Chef Paul Hollywood Pleads for Donations to Rescue Five Lions from War-Torn Ukraine, Raising Over £150,000 in the First Month

Ambassador of The Big Cat Sanctuary and celebrity chef, Paul Hollywood, has joined the crucial Big Cats in Crisis campaign to help rescue five lions from war-torn Ukraine. Paul issues an urgent appeal to the public to join the vital mission by donating funds towards giving these lions a forever home in Kent.

Paul Hollywood calls on everyone to contribute whatever they can to support the Sanctuary. “Time is of the essence; we need to get them out of Kyiv and to Kent now. Anything you can donate, big or small, will make a huge difference to the five traumatised lions in Ukraine.” says Paul Hollywood.

The Sanctuary has been overwhelmed by the support they have received for the project so far, with over £150,000 raised towards the Big Cats in Crisis campaign. With a target of £500,000, the Sanctuary still needs to raise extra funds to ensure the cats' best chance of safety and build them a forever home in Kent, UK.

Currently living in a temporary refuge but still in critical danger in Kyiv, Ukraine, the Sanctuary is working with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) to evacuate the lions as quickly and safely as possible. The charity hopes that one of the habitats will be completed for lioness Yuna in July 2024. Yuna, who has suffered from severe shell shock, will be the first to arrive at the Sanctuary, while the other four lions will go to holding facilities in Belgium until their new homes are ready.

Building work has commenced with the digging of trenches to install plumbing, sewage, and electric systems, and significant developments have been made to one of the housing units. The Sanctuary has worked with a specialist design company called Dearadh Zü, which has created the Lion Rescue Centre visuals, showing how it will look once completed.

Jonathan, the director at Dearadh Zü, explains, “The designs of these outdoor habitats will enhance animal welfare through wellness and activity-based design principles. Each habitat has been crafted to allow the lions to exhibit natural behaviours by providing opportunities and choices within the landscape, with features such as external climbing platforms, dens, water bodies, boulders, logs, and planting.

Cam Whitnall, Project Lead at The Big Cat Sanctuary, says, “Thank you to everyone for their support so far. Raising £150,000 in the first month since launching the campaign is incredible, and we’re now one step closer to bringing them to safety. We can’t wait to bring them to their forever home soon.

While a seamless journey is not guaranteed, The Big Cat Sanctuary is dedicated to taking every possible precaution to ensure the cats arrive safely. To get involved with this urgent project, please click HERE to donate and visit the Sanctuary’s website for more information on the rescue itself.