Lions in Modern Egypt

        I think if you have read the previous sections about lions in Egypt you probably know now that lions don't live in Egypt anymore.....what a sad fact....Well, do you believe in the statement that says "Nature finds a way"?...I don't know about you but I certainly do. My mind still has a small challenging part that refuses to believe that a creature as powerful, brave, and agile as the lion can easily be extinct from a certain region!! I know it sounds like a silly notion, but so what, a lot of silly notions turned later to realities. In my mind I think that at least a small bunch of lions managed to escape from man's extermination and adapted themselves to live in a remote place in the Egyptian deserts....You may call this day dreaming, you may call it a hope, whatever you call it, it is what I believe.

        To enhance what iam saying, I will give you a small example. The Cheetah is another wild feline, the fastes animal on earth. Well, although the Cheetah is the earth's marathon champion, nevertheless, it is a very weak feline compared to its feline relatives, like lions, leopards, and tigers. Well, in 1993, a herd of Cheetah (pictured below) was spotted in a remote part of the western desert in Egypt, and also it the Cheetah was spotted in Sinai.....What a strange surprise! You can read about the rediscovery of Cheetah
here, here and here ...Obviously, this clan of cheetah managed to survive in this remote place, called The Qattara Depression, and was able to beat the threats of man and inbreeding, at least till now! This is considered unusual news in Egypt because Cheetahs were considered to be extinct in Egypt!!! So, if the Cheetah, who is weaker and more vulnerable than the lion, managed to overcome the threats of extinction, why can't we believe that the Barbary lion could do the same thing?!!! I know that my thoughts are not based on scientific facts, but I really wish that one day I can support these thoughts with scientific research and hard evidence...

Cheetah in Egypt again?
Saharan Cheetah


        So, what is the nature of the current presence of lions in Egypt today?.....Well, the only recorded lions in Egypt today are only captive lions. According to my own observations, there are only three places where captive lions can be found in Egypt today: zoos, circuses, and private facilities.

.ZOOS.

Lions can be found in most of the Egyptian zoos and a lot of these zoos were successful to breed them. There are a lot of zoos in Egypt but most of them are very small zoos. There are three main big zoos that host lions:

1. Giza Botanical Gardens, this is Egypt's main zoo and is considered one of the oldest and largest zoos in the world. The zoo hosts a reasonable number of African lions. Born Free foundation has been working with the Giza zoo to try improve the conditions in which the lions in the zoo live, like increasing cage size, providing more clean bowls for drinking, etc. The zoo serves the 2 largest cities in Egypt, Cairo and Giza.

NEW!!!
Read about my visit to the Giza zoo here and see pictures of the lions living in the Zoo here.

2. Nousha Park, this is probably the second largest zoo in Egypt and it is located in Alexandria. The zoo also hosts some African lions.

3. Tanta Zoo, this is another one of the largest zoos in Egypt and is located in Tanta. The zoo used to host African lions, but it is known to me now if the zoo still has lions or not.


.CIRCUSES.

Egypt has been famous for its circuses and its skilled animal trainers. Some of the famous circuses in Egypt include the National Circus, El Helw Circus, Akef Circus, and the Egyptian Russian Circus. Most of the circuses in Egypt exhibit lions and use them in their shows. Unfortunately, few circuses in Egypt take good care of their animals, including lions. For example, a lot of complaints about Akef Circus were sent to animal rights organizations and organizations that save animals from cruel treatments. As a result, Born Free foundation set a rescue mission to save the animals that travel with Akef Circus. You can read about this rescue operation here


.PRIVATE FACILITIES.

I prefer to call this section private facilities and not sanctuaries because I lived in USA and I visited lion sanctuaries and the private facilities in Egypt cant' be ranked as sanctuaries. I visited one private facility in Egypt that hosts lions and at the same time is open for public. Iam sure there might be other facilities but till now Iam not aware of them yet. The lion facility that I visited in Egypt hosts only lions and it is the most famous there because it is open for the public, and advertises for itself on the TV and on the highway billboards. This place is called Qaryet Al-Asaad, or the Lion's Village. The place hosts around 20-25 lions and lionesses. The place itself is a rest area on the desert highway road between Cairo and Alexandria and it uses the lions to occasionally perform in shows to entertain the travelers. Unfortantely, when I visited this place I was disappointed at the situation in which the resident lions live. The cages are very tight and small, the cages were exposed directly to sunlight which obviously dehydrated the lions, the cages were placed very close to each other that lions can easily snatch each other, and finally some of the lions looked in a poor health and even one of them looked that he lost his eye in a fight! Moreover, the workers in this place walked around the tables of the travelers holding newly born cubs (1-2 weeks) so travelers can take pictures with them! This was in July and the cubs looked totally dehydrated and exhausted!!!!!! You can see pictures of this place in my pictures page.

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        I will add more information about lions in Egypt today soon as Iam intending to do further research about zoos, circuses and private ownership of lions in Egypt.

Please if you have any information, stories, pictures, evidence, or articles about wild or captive lions in Egypt try to send them to me by contacting me at sloanroars@hotmail.com. This will be a great help and addition to this site.



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