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What About Merlin?
Many of you have been inquiring about Merlin and his new neighbors. Merlin realizes there are new lions at the sanctuary, but we are not planning for Merlin and the new lions to share a habitat. Introducing unfamiliar cats can potentially be dangerous, particularly because Merlin is declawed and has never lived with other lions. 
November 2013 

We are excited to introduce you to five African lions that have found a lifelong home at National Tiger Sanctuary! Originally these cats had been purchased as cubs, but were later abandoned after their owner lost his job. 
We were then contacted and asked if we could provide them a lifelong home. Below is the story of how the pride came to be at National Tiger Sanctuary.
 
The Rescue
The process to rescue the lions began several months ago. One of the first decisions we had to make was whether to take all five lions or just a couple. When we learned that all five had been living together for quite some time, we decided we did not want to tear their family apart. African lions are social animals, so they form very close bonds with other members of their pride. Knowing and understanding the importance of this, we believed their best chance at happiness and adjusting to their new home was to keep them together.

The next challenge was designing a habitat that would accommodate a family of lions. We believe that all animals should have their own habitat to run and play in at their leisure; we never lock our animals in at night or out during the day to be on display. We also ensure that all of our cats have access to natural surfaces, such as grass and dirt. To provide that for the lions, we not only gave them a large outdoor space, but we also built three bedroom areas that we could use to close them into when we need to go in to clean their outdoor habitat.
 
As their new habitat was being completed, we also had to make arrangements for the lions to receive vaccines and microchips. Microchips are now required in the state of Missouri as a result of the Large Carnivore Act that went into effect last year. National Tiger Sanctuary worked with the Kansas City Zoo and the St. Louis Zoo for several years to pass this legislation to help regulate big cat ownership. This bill has been a great first step towards ensuring responsible ownership and superior care for big cats in our state.
 
The day finally arrived to bring these wonderful animals home! On Tuesday, November 12, 2013, the NTS team brought two males, Leo and Judah, and three females, Niara, Etana, and Matula, home to our sanctuary. In order to keep the pride together, the two males underwent vasectomies to eliminate the possibility of breeding. Now, all five are doing wonderfully and enjoying their new home even more than we could have dreamed. They are not on tours yet, which is something we do for all new cats. We give them their privacy until we are confident that they are completely comfortable with their new diet, habitat, and surroundings. We are excited to share them with you on tours soon!
 
 
Thank You 
Thank you to everyone who has continued to support us and show their love for these big cats. Rescues like these are only made possible because of loyal supporters and donors like you. Look forward to seeing them on tours in the near future!

National Tiger Sanctuary | (417) 587-3633 | stripes@nationaltigersanctuary.org
 518 State Highway BB  |  Saddlebrooke, MO 65630