Earlier this year, the Zoological Wildlife Foundation had a few special arrivals. Four white lions were rescued from a South African canned hunting operation, and two others back in 2014. Now, months after their arrival at their new home, they’re thriving.
“We are all passionate about the work we do each day, and seeing our six white lions doing so well after their rescue is one of the most gratifying aspects of our job,” said Mario Tabraue, President and Director of ZWF Miami. “These animals have been through so much, and I’m proud of the home we’ve created for them and other species here at ZWF Miami.”
The six lions came to ZWF Miami in three different rescues. In early 2014, Kumba and Khiera were the first to arrive, followed by Kunto and Kahina in May of 2015. Kahinda and Kabira followed shortly, arriving in July. They were all rescued from an African hunting lodge.
Today, they receive the highest level of care and animal husbandry. The first four white lions all live together, and have created their own pride, while the two most recent arrivals live on the other side of the foundation for now.
“Watching them throughout the day, run around and play in the pool or with our keepers is really something to watch,” said Maria Tabraue, Vice President and Director of ZWF Miami. “They all have their different personalities and traits, but they still enjoy each other’s company.”
The living space for the main group of lions was custom-built, and includes a large rock formation where visitors can see all four felines at once, as they pick their spot and lay in the South Florida sun. The lions also have a large tiki they can climb onto or use as a shaded area.
These lion rescues are key to ZWF Miami’s mission to raise awareness for lion conservation. There are approximately 32,000 wild lions left in the world today, and the foundation is dedicated to raise awareness and educate the public about the injustice of canned hunting, with the hopes of one day making the practice illegal globally.
Canned hunting is a growth industry in South Africa, and white lions are deliberately bred on farms with the intention of being shot by wealthy foreign hunters in search of lion trophies. Cecil the lion, who was killed by an American hunter in Zimbabwe, has helped raise awareness for lion conservation around the world. Maybe we can expand that awareness to stop canned hunts as well.
“I have been actively participating in conservation efforts around the world for many years now, and know first hand just how special white lions are,” Mario Tabraue said. “To think that someone would want to take the life of one of these amazing creatures is inconceivable.
To learn more about how you can schedule a visit to meet the white lions and some of ZWF Miami’s other residents, visit: www.zwfmiami.com.
ZWF Miami is located at 16225 SW 172 Ave. in Miami, Florida and is open-to-the-public seven days a week. Tours of the park are available by appointment only. Call 305.969.3696 or 786.423-8099 for more information.
Follow us on social media for more exciting news and updates.
Twitter and Instagram: @ZWFMiami
About the Zoological Wildlife Foundation:
Founded in 2001, the Zoological Wildlife Foundation (ZWF Miami) is an organization accredited by the Zoological Association of America that serves as a zoo and a conservation facility that is dedicated to educating the public about rare and endangered animal species in captivity and in the wild. Located south of Miami and spanning several breathtaking acres of land, ZWF Miami is home to everything from domestic animals, leopards, big cats primates, large predatory birds and mammals to dozens of exotic species, most of which are available for interactive encounters with the public. ZWF Miami has a sister facility that is a private reserve where animals rescued from being terminated or from being raised to be hunted live alongside confiscated and unwanted exotic species. At this location, endangered species are bred in captivity and injured animals are brought here to recuperate.