Jessy is born in 2008

She comes from a German circus. In 2014 Bakari arrived with Jessy, Sarabi and Dumi at Stichting Leeuw, from a German circus. He was the proud leader of his pride. Bakari looked 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.

Sadly, Bakari past away in April 2023 because of his old age. He had lived a great last few months on African soil. Jessy is now located besides Hugo, since he’s been alone for a while now as well. It will take some time to see if they can actually live together, but for now they seem to like each other as long as the fence is in between them.


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.

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April 2023  Yesterday we had to say goodby to Bakari. The vet made sure he passed away peacefully, at a respectable age of almost 20 years. He wasn't sick, just old and exhausted. He couldn't anymore. He was a special lion, which left an impression on many. For many...

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Update: Iwan, Drago & Bombay

April 2023  Today was the big day for IWAN and DRAGO. Because they feel so at home and know exactly where they get their food, the brothers were allowed to explore their large enclosure. They quietly walked into the large enclosure and immediately discovered their...

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