Nature Help Center welcomes white circus lion Romeo (4): “We really don’t like to see such a rare mutation coming” | Oudsbergen

After a very long journey, the Natuurhulpcentrum in Oudsbergen has had a new temporary resident since this morning: Romeo, a rare white African lion with a past as a circus animal. “Actually, we hardly have room for another lion, but the alternative might be to sell and install Romeo, which of course is not an option for us,” says Frederik Thoelen of Natuurhulpcentrum. Several employees have been called this morning to bring Romeo safe and sound to his temporary residence.

“Romeo is now four years old, and he was born in France,” says Frederick. We don’t know how he is or how he behaves, but he won’t suffer from any serious illnesses. The reason he came to us is simply because the alternative is not an option. Romeo was owned by a former lion tamer who used to do shows and tricks with his three lions. He was also going to stay in Eastern Europe for a while and apparently got scammed there. Since then, completely bankrupt financially and keeping circus animals increasingly difficult due to the new rules, he has sought shelter for his three lions.”

Genetic mutation

Since the Nature Relief Center is currently receiving four more lions from Ukraine, there was only room for one of them. And this has become a white African lion. A rare specimen, but it’s not exactly something we like to see,” says Frederick. Such a white lion looks amazing, but it is still a genetic mutation that is mainly bred because it is commercially interesting. It often happened in the past that zoos bred such mutants, bred them, and thus obtained an unhealthy animal. We don’t yet know exactly how Romeo works.”

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Romeo has arrived at the Nature Help Center in Odsbergen. © Mine Dalemans

That should show in the coming months. “Romeo arrived today and started the month of quarantine. In that period we will see if he has any medical problems and how he behaves. We will neuter him anyway to avoid future abuse. Only then will we look for a place where he can live permanently. In the past, Most of our lions have been relocated to African sanctuaries in South Africa and Malawi.We are now even working on relocating two Ukrainian lions who came here in 2022, Tsar and Jamil.Because of the bombing in Kiev the papers weren’t right, but they would have arrived anyway.Hopefully he can Tsar and Jamil are able to go to their new home in three months’ time.

Those who want to come and enjoy Romeo themselves are welcome to the annual open days of the Natuurhulpcentrum in Oudsbergen. It will take place on September 3, 10 and 17.

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Romeo has arrived at the Nature Help Center in Odsbergen.
Romeo has arrived at the Nature Help Center in Odsbergen. © RV

Romeo. © Mine Dalemans

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Romeo. © rv

Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

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