Spotted flight. Chelyabinsk veterinarian took the rescued lion cub to Africa

Lion Simba and leopard Eva, rescued by a Chelyabinsk veterinarian, despite coronavirus restrictions and a great distance, finally ended up in their historical homeland, Zanzibar. & nbsp;

Simba due to received in childhood traumas did not feel well in the Urals: because of the cold climate in winter, the animal's knees hurt. Eve, too, did not benefit from the frost.

The trip was supposed to take place exactly a year ago, but the pandemic disrupted all plans of not only people, but also animals.

Returned from the afterlife.

The story of the rescue of the lion cub Simba began last spring, just with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. & Nbsp; A resident of a small Dagestan village turned to Karen Dallakyan, a well-known Chelyabinsk animal rights activist and veterinarian. He said that a little lion cub, a victim of the “ black photographers '', lies in a grave condition in the barn. After working out the season, they abandoned the little predator unnecessarily.

It seemed incredible, but Dallakyan and his assistant, head of a travel agency and zoological volunteer Yulia Agaeva , were able to take a barely living predator from Dagestan to Chelyabinsk, to the Wildlife Shelter “ Save Me ''. Passenger flights all over the world were suspended, but in order to save the wild kitten, they managed to get a permit for air transportation.

In Chelyabinsk, Karen Dallakyan operated on Simba. The lion cub conquered all Russians who knew its history. Words of support to the little predator and gratitude to the veterinarian flew from different cities and countries. Simba did not disappoint. He recovered, got stronger and turned into a 120-kilogram handsome man.

The communication between Karen and Simba is really amazing. All of us, guests of the “ Save Me '' shelter, have seen a hundred times how the veterinarian easily enters the cage to the animal, feeds it from the hands, strokes it on the head. Surprisingly, Simba also submitted to his “ mother '': Yulia Agaeva. A fragile blonde feeds the king of animals with raw meat from her hands, scratches his belly, and the lion with great pleasure substitutes his mane for stroking.

Simba likes to hide from the African heat in the shade. Photo: From the personal archive


'Simba will not survive in the wild, he is completely dependent on humans, & mdash; says Karen. & mdash; But Eve, on the contrary, completely retained all her animal qualities. Leopard can easily live in the wild. ''

Eve's story also began tragically. The mother abandoned the newborn leopard kitten, it happens in wild animals. Dallakyan again had to save the tiny milk predator. The blue-eyed predator was 20 centimeters in length, snoozing peacefully on her hands, clinging to a warm palm. Dallakyan fed Eve with warm goat milk from a bottle with a nipple. The predator grew rapidly. Eve has not lost the strength, aggression, agility and anger inherent in leopards.

This was Eve when she came to the shelter “ Save Me '' Photo: AiF

To Africa

The fact that Simba and Eva should not live in a shelter in the South Urals, Dallakyan says from the first days of their appearance. It is only called South, but the climate here is by no means African. In winter, predators, despite the heated rooms, are uncomfortable. They are genetically accustomed to a completely different climate.

“ Can you imagine how his bones ache? & mdash; Chelyabinsk animal rights activist Karen Dallakyan about his 'son' & mdash; Leo Simba & mdash; worries as a person. & mdash; How we all suffer in the cold & mdash; and he has calluses from past injuries to his paws. In the Ural climate, he suffers greatly in frost. It is vital to get him to Africa. ''

In October 2020, arrangements for the 'repatriation' Simba and Eve were conducted at the highest level. The Tanzanian government, the rehabilitation center and the state wildlife control authorities have been developing a joint action plan. Despite the incredible efforts of Agayeva and Dallakyan, it was not possible to take out the animals then. Simba and Eva spent the winter in Chelyabinsk.

In October 2021, the Chelyabinsk airport finally launched this flight. On a private jet flew truly unique passengers: the leopard Eva and the lion Simba. When the dispatcher announced boarding, listing the representatives of the fauna, it seemed far from reality: Simba, Eva and Karen Dallakyan were invited on board. They were accompanied by the whole country with anxiety in their hearts: will everything work out, will wild cats bear such a long flight?

Eva has grown into a wild beauty. Photo: From the personal archive of Karen Dallakyan

Revolution and refueling

“ Evochka and Simbochka are not flying in the luggage compartment, but with us, in the cabin of the plane, & mdash; the veterinarian reassured everyone. & mdash; We named our flight to Tanzania & bdquo; spotted & ldquo; by analogy with the famous from the movie & bdquo; striped & ldquo; & raquo ;.

The flight went smoothly for the animals. And Dallakyan and Agayeva, as well as several other passengers, managed to get very nervous. The fact is that the plane was put on a scheduled refueling in Saudi Arabia. But pilots, according to the rules, can work a certain number of flight hours. And the special board was not allowed out of the country until the pilots had a rest. Due to the epidemic, passengers, again, could only be in the cabin, they were not allowed to enter the state.

But local airport employees now and then approached the cages with wild animals that were on the plane and took pictures. For Arabs, the lion & mdash; almost a sacred animal. They were shocked to see the king of beasts being transported in a regular Boeing.

Due to the revolution that took place in Sudan, the airspace was closed. But everything was resolved: the ship flew through Kenya, which gave permission to cross its air borders.

Simba and Eva arrived safely in Africa. They settled in the Kilimanjaro animal crew wildlife & amp; educational center in the city of Moshi, among hectares of wilderness, but under the strict supervision of Tanzanian specialists. Dallakian is happy that he was able to arrange a happy animal future for his beloved Simba at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Simba managed to return home. Photo: From personal archive/Karen Dallakyan

Quarantine and a peacock

Of course, while the “ repatriated '' the animals go through the necessary quarantine. Eva and Samba live in special covered enclosures, and so far they go out to the territory only for acquaintance. Despite the fact that this is their homeland, the animals have to master. Agayeva and Dallakyan conduct live broadcasts on social networks, where, at the numerous requests of people from all over the world, they talk about the well-being of wild cats. You can breathe a sigh of relief: the animals endured the flight well, in Africa they really like it. Simba catches every sound, reacting to a monkey shouting in the distance or a turtle crawling nearby. Dallakyan tells amazingly interesting stories. For example, chickens are running around the rehabilitation center, and one of them fell into the clutches of Simba. The domesticated lion, contrary to expectations, released the prey: he was accustomed to the fact that people bring food, and completely lost the skill of hunting. But Eva would not have done that: the leopard grins at possible prey and does not look like a cute kitty at all.

Leopard Eva is slowly settling on the African continent. Photo: From the personal archive of Karen Dallakyan

By the way, the first few days the predators were fed frozen meat brought in a chest from Russia. Dallakyan decided that the adaptation of their stomachs to unusual overseas ducks and turkeys would be easier.

Predators gladly accept water procedures: they are doused with warm water every day from a hose.

According to the requirements put forward by Tanzanian specialists, the territory of Simba is fenced with a special net. It is dangerous to cross it, and so that the lion understands the boundaries, a small electric shock has been carried out. Simba had already been hit on the nose several times. The smartest creature now perfectly understands that it is dangerous to approach the fence.

“ But we got a provocateur: a peacock, & mdash; Dallakyan laughs. & mdash; He walks along the fence. Emits inviting sounds, provoking animals to come out to him. Simba must not be allowed outside certain boundaries and for the safety of local livestock. There is something like a kind of collective farm, the cattle graze all day, but there are no high fences. ''

Karen Dallakyan celebrated his 51st birthday here, at the foot of Kilimanjaro. Local staff at the animal center sang national songs for him. The animal activist will remember this holiday forever.

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Posted by Karen Dallakyan (@karendallakyan)

Letters to Simba

Dallakyan receives words of gratitude from around the world. If adults write on social networks that they are happy for Simba and Eve, then children send drawings. “ My name is Anya, I'm 8 years old, I'm in 3rd grade, & mdash; Karen reads a letter on the air. & mdash; I am very glad that you saved Simba. Come to us to treat animals. I drew you and Simba. ''

The animal rights activist says that he has long been accustomed to being called Aibolit. “ What kind of Aibolit am I if I haven't been to Africa, '' mdash; he laughs. & mdash; And now it’s definitely Aybolit. ” Not so long ago, the trial of its former owner ended, who escaped with a slight fright. Abroad for such a crime would have to while away behind bars for ten years.

Karen told subscribers that he was preparing a video for “ Song of Little Red Riding Hood '' (“ Ah, in Africa rivers are this wide. '') Here you can film almost all animals, except perhaps hippos.

Dallakyan would not be himself if he did not carry his idea of ​​raising goodness in children and in Africa. He has already been invited to a Tanzanian school, where Karen will teach his traditional lesson in kindness: he will teach him to love nature and take care of its inhabitants.

The veterinarian misses the sick wild animals left in the Urals, but does not yet know when he will be able to to return home with an easy soul. This will happen when Simba and Eve are firmly settled on the new continent.


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