A lifeline for the world’s loneliest lion

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Qatar Airways Cargo has joined forces with Animal Defenders International to help rescue the world’s loneliest lion.

Ruben was left behind when a private zoo closed down in Armenia, in a tiny concrete cell with no contact with other lions and charity ADI could not find a suitable flight for him out of Armenia.

Qatar Airways Cargo orchestrated a 5,200-mile journey for the 15-year-old lion, where he is now re-discovering his voice and confidence as he roams the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary. Despite physical challenges from years of captivity, Ruben’s resilience and determination shine through, offering hope for a remarkable recovery.

Qatar Airways Cargo senior vice-president for cargo sales and network planning, Elisabeth Oudkerk, said: “We are committed to preserving wildlife and endangered species, that is why we launched our WeQare initiative: ‘Rewild the Planet’ back in 2020. We pledged to return wildlife and endangered species back to their natural habitat, free of charge and we will continue to do so.”

“There are a lot of logistics involved in moving animals like Ruben; from the logistics at the airports involved, the process for loading and unloading the animals from the aircraft, to ensuring the correct cages and wellbeing of the animals are in place. It takes a lot of effort from our team to organise such transport – but it is something we are all collectively very proud to be a part of, knowing we helped give back to our planet.”

ADI president Jan Creamer, added: “Ruben was really in trouble until Qatar Airways Cargo stepped up. ADI had been funding his care in Armenia since December and when we could find no flights for him we feared he could be stuck there.

“Then Qatar Airways Cargo ‘WeQare’ initiative stepped in, moving a larger aircraft with hold doors big enough for Ruben’s crate, into the scheduled passenger route out of Yervan. We are so thankful to Qatar Airways Cargo for all their support in helping get Ruben to South Africa.”

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