Ukraine-Russia conflict: Lions rescued from war-hit Kyiv to be welcomed at zoo in Belgium

Two lions living in an animal rescue centre in Kyiv are to be transported 2,000 miles across Europe to be sheltered from the war in a Belgian zoo.

The lions, Tsar and Jamil, were taken to the Polish border last week as war broke out. They have now received permission to be transported to Belgium.

The pair were part of a group of six lions, six tigers, two caracals and an African wild dog which were saved from the rescue centre.

Upon arrival at the Natuurhulpcentrum in Oudsbergen, the lions will be quarantined for three months and a veterinary check will also be carried out.

A girl sits with her dog and cat in the Dorohozhychi subway station which has has been turned into a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Belgium’s federal agriculture minister David Clarinval said: "Earlier this week, an application for an import permit was submitted to the AFSCA (Federal Agency for Food Safety) for the lions Tsar and Jamil, who lived at the Wild Animal Rescue centre in Kyiv.

"I am therefore pleased to announce that these lions will be allowed to enter Belgian territory fairly quickly, given the exceptional situation."

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Before they are transported, the lions will be issued with individual passports with identification and vaccination details. They will be vaccinated against rabies and will be be subject to veterinary import controls at the border control of the European Union.

The Polish workers transporting the animals were forced to detour their convoy due to heavy fighting in parts of their route.

Pet owners in Ukraine’s cities have been forced to take their animals into underground shelters to protect them during shelling.

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