FOUR PAWS veterinarian Marina Ivanova with a rescued lion in Sudan

Rescued from Conflict Zones Twice

FOUR PAWS recently evacuated nearly 50 wild animals from war-torn Khartoum


Sydney, 18 January 2024 – Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS returned to Sudan once again on 9 January for the urgent rescue of 15 lions, four hyenas and other wild animals from the Wad Madani area. They were among 47 wild animals evacuated by FOUR PAWS from a rescue centre in Khartoum to Dinder National Park and Um Barona National Park in November. While nearby Wad Madani was safe at the time, it became a new front in Sudan’s civil war recently. This put the lives of the already weakened animals at risk once more. FOUR PAWS worked tirelessly on a swift solution with the Sudanese Wildlife authorities and is now planning their relocation to a safe place at one of its sanctuaries.

Upon the request of the Sudanese Wildlife authorities and the responsible stakeholders in Wad Madani, FOUR PAWS had already been in discussions with the Sudanese officials about the future of the animals – after learning that Wad Madani had become a new scene of fighting in the war, a solution had to be found even more urgently. Since it was too great of a risk for the FOUR PAWS team to enter Wad Madani, the animals were transported out of the immediate conflict zone and to Kassala with approval from both conflict factions. From there, the FOUR PAWS team took them to Port Sudan. From transporting the animals over 1,400 kilometres and carrying all transport crates manually to organising fuel, food and water, as well as a cargo plane to take the team and animals out of Sudan – the FOUR PAWS team successfully overcame many challenges. Moreover, the team also provided veterinary care and treatment for the animals.

Wad Madani is one of Sudan’s largest cities and was previously a safe zone for thousands of refugees since the outbreak of the war in April 2023. The evacuated animals, including lions, hyenas, wildcats, birds, and deer were brought to Dinder National Park and Um Barona National Park. While the birds and deer could be released back into the wild or were locally rehomed, the other animals still need urgent and specialised intensive veterinary care that cannot be provided in Sudan.

“The situation in Sudan highlights the massive unpredictability of conflict zones. An area that is deemed safe today, can become the centre of crisis tomorrow. In this case, we are glad we could get the animals out in time. We had to find a swift solution in a high-risk emergency situation, and thanks to a collaborative effort, together with the Sudanese authorities and our global network, we did. FOUR PAWS has the necessary expertise and resources to care for and protect the animals we rescue in a species-appropriate environment for the rest of their lives. We continue to keep everyone affected by the conflict in Sudan in our thoughts.”

FOUR PAWS President and CEO Josef Pfabigan

“We knew as soon as we heard about the fighting in Wad Madani that we would need to get the animals out, so they have even a chance at survival. These animals were stuck in the middle of the conflict zone since the outbreak of the war. They are traumatised and weakened. This was a highly challenging effort and one of the most difficult emergency missions we ever did. When one plan became too risky because of fighting and escalations, we found another, safer way. It was very emotional for the whole team to receive these animals for a second time now although we had already thought them safe. Since some of the animals are in worrying shape, we have done everything we can for now to provide food, pain relief and veterinary care for them. Transporting the animals out of Sudan is the only way now to make sure they can finally recover in peace,” says FOUR PAWS veterinarian Dr Amir Khalil, who led the rescue mission.

Injured lion in Sudan


A timeline of the mission in Sudan

Find out more

FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them.

Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, animals in fashion, farm animals, and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones.

With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

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