Bakari & Jessy

Bakari was born in 2003, Jessy in 2008
They come from a German circus. In 2014 Bakari arrived with Jessy, Sarabi and Dumi at Stichting Leeuw, from a German circus. He is the proud leader of his pride. Bakari looks different from other males, because he doesn’t have manes; he lost them after being castrated. When he arrived at Stichting Leeuw, Bakari was supposed to have been sterilized. But soon after, Jessy gave birth to Ayla. Since at Stichting Leeuw nor at The Lions Foundation we have no intention of breeding big cats, and since Bakari caused much unrest amongst the other male lions, it was decided to have Bakari castrated. He lost his manes, but it didn’t make him less masculine. His lionesses still have a lot of respect for him, and step aside when he enters.

Jessy is the youngest of the pride, but highest in rank amongst the lionesses. She is a smart and playful lioness. She is inquisitive and loves to hunt; she was in fact one of the best hunters at Stichting Leeuw! However, like a true lion, she also likes to just lie about…
Jessy is also the mother of Ayla, who was born at Stichting Leeuw in 2014 – a welcome accident Unfortunately, as we didn’t expect the cub at all, Jessy had received a birth control implant soon after arrival. This caused her milk to dry up a week after Ayla’s birth. Ayla had to be hand-raised by one of the Stichting Leeuw caretakers – an intense but rewarding task!

Dumi, last in rank in the pride, sadly passed away just before the pride was related to South Africa. Sarabi was second in rank amongst the lionesses. She passed away in 2022, from kidney failure. At least she enjoyed living in the semi-wild for a while. 

This small pride arrived at The Lions Foundation in September 2021. They were crate-trained, so transporting them went relatively easy. They were very calm and adapted to their new home and completely new environment in only a couple of hours, just as they did in 2014 at Stichting Leeuw. After only a few days in their separation enclosure, they were introduced to their enormous new home, and they happily started exploring it. Now Bakari and Jessy are a proud old couple. Bakari is 20 years old now, but we hope to have him around for a long time still!


The Lions Foundation aims to
rehabilitate lions in need from
all over the world to their
natural habitat.


The Lions Foundation is
located in Schrikkloof
Nature Reserve.

Visit us! >



Donate >

Adopt a lion >

Sponsor us >


Sterilisation Lionesses

November 2021Our vet, dr Peter Caldwell, came with a group of veterinary students from www.thewildspirit.com to sterilize our lionesses Nora, Mahli, Ziera and Nala. These students, from all over the world, go to different conservation and sanctuary facilities and...

read more

Arrival Bakari Pride

26 August 2021  Today we welcomed Bakari, Sarabi and Jessy! This small pride arrived at Stichting Leeuw in 2014, from a German circus. After receiving a generous donation from a Dutch donor, The Lions Foundation was able to build a beautiful enclosure for them in...

read more