Minnesota rescue to take in 4 lion cubs rescued from Ukraine

An animal rescue in Minnesota plans to take in four lion cubs who were recently rescued from war-torn Ukraine.

The Wildcat Sanctuary, located in Sandstone, said Thursday that the cubs — all younger than 4 months old — are currently at the Poznan Zoo in Poland and will remain there until the proper permits are obtained and transport to Minnesota can be arranged.

Officials with The Wildcat Sanctuary say the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) reached out to them because of the organization’s experience in international big cat translocations.

The cubs have survived the recent drone attacks and sporadic bombings in Kyiv and were surrendered to animal rescue organizations in Odesa and Kyiv.

“An estimated 200 lions live in private homes and as the war rages on, they face increasingly grim outcomes,” Meredith Whitney, a wildlife rescue program manager at the IFAW, said.

“There was a bit of serendipity in this rescue because we have an enclosure that is specifically designed for a pride of lions and the cubs are a male and three females,” Tammy Thies, founder and executive director of The Wildcat Sanctuary, said. “We were thrilled to be able to offer these cubs a beautiful, one acre habitat together and hope to welcome them home soon.”