The two rescued lionesses transported by Kenya Airways this week to South Africa, were released yesterday morning at Born Free Foundation’s Big Cat Rescue and Education Centre in Shamwari Game Reserve, located outside of Port Elizabeth.

Initially saved by the Foundation a year back, eight year old sisters, Maggie and Sonja, first travelled from Natuurhulpcentrum (a wild animal rescue and rehabilitation centre) in Belguim, to London’s Heathrow airport early on Tuesday 20th January, where their transportation was organized by acclaimed Kenya Airways onboard the Dreamliner’s launch flight to Nairobi.

After touching down in Johannesburg on Wednesday 21st January, Maggie and Sonja then travelled in special trailers, and once they arrived were released into their large natural enclosure, where they were introduced to the sights and sounds of Africa for the first time.

Rosemary Adogo, Area Manager for Southern Africa and India Ocean Island said “We were thrilled to offer our services to carry this amazing, unique cargo.  With the expertise of our support teams and our African network it is great we made this logistically happen for Maggie and Sonja.”

Shamwari Wildlife Director and vet, Dr Johan Joubert, and Born Free’s Big Cat Expert Tony Wiles, were present at every step of the journey.

Dr Joubert said, “I am very satisfied with the rescue and translocation of the lionesses Maggie and Sonja from the Natuurhulpcentrum in Belgium to Shamwari Game Reserve. Although it was a long journey for them, they travelled well. It was snowing when they left, two days ago, and now they are adapting to a hot African summer’s day. They experienced natural grass and trees today for the first time in their life.

To find out more about Maggie and Sonja’s new life, meet some of Born Free’s other rescued animals, or make a donation to enable the Foundation to continue its work with some of the world’s most vulnerable animals, visit: .

The lionesses move to South Africa was supported by Kenya Airways and Land Rover.


For media related enquiries, contact Lesley Simpson Communications on Tel: +27 11 463 8195, Fax: +27 11 463 8196 or Email:



Notes to Editors:

About Born Free

The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare.  Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos.  We rescue animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care.

Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and many more species in their natural habitat, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict.  Our high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers and get results.  Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. For more information about Born Free please visit:

About Kenya Airways:

Kenya Airways, a member of the Sky Team Alliance, is a leading African airline flying to over 60 destinations worldwide, 40 of which are in Africa and carries over three million passengers annually. It continues to modernize its fleet with its 45 aircraft fleet being one of the most modern in Africa. The on-board service is renowned and the lie-flat business class seat on the wide-body aircraft is consistently voted among the world’s top 10. In 2010, it scooped top awards at the Africa Investor (Ai) Tourism Investor Awards and was declared the Business Airline of the Year in Africa. Kenya Airways takes pride for being in the fore front of connecting Africa to the world and the World to Africa through its hub Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

For more information, please visit

By |2015-01-28T17:57:35+00:00January 26th, 2015|Press Releases|Comments Off on RESCUED LIONESSES WELCOMED AT NEW AFRICAN HOME