Animals shelters of Spain and Belgium have received six(6) lions that have been evacuated from Ukraine, one of which was rescued from a nightclub, the shelters confirmed on Thursday as war rages in the nation.
Last week, the lions, six tigers, two wild cats, and a wild dog arrived at a zoo in Poland by truck from a refuge near Kyiv following a two-day odyssey skirting battle front lines.
Four(4) of the lions and the wild dog were taken in on Wednesday by a rescue centre in Alicante in the eastern region of Spain run by Dutch animal welfare charity AAP, the group mentioned in a statement.
The lions had been living at a shelter near Kyiv after being rescued from “dire” circumstances, with one called Gyz kept in a “small cage in a shopping centre.”
Another lion called Flori was kept as a pet in a small apartment where it was fed cat food, while another named Nila was rescued from a nightclub where it was kept to “entertain customers.”
“It will be a challenge to improve their fragile health, step by step, through an adequate diet, exercise and rest,” the statement added.
Two other lions named Tsar and Jamil were taken in on Wednesday by the Natuurhulpcentrum shelter in the province of Limburg in eastern Belgium, the group said on Facebook.
The animals will remain in quarantine for three months, it added.
The remaining animals – the six tigers and two wild cats – have so far remained at the zoo in Poznan in western Poland.
The truck, which drove nearly 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) to the Polish border, came face to face with Russian tanks at one point, and had to avoid the Zhytomyr region, which the invading Russian forces have bombarded, a zoo spokesperson said.
The animals were transferred to a Poland truck at the border while the Ukrainian driver returned home to his children.