nero en masrya - stichting leeuwOnly two years after the start of Stichting Leeuw, an amazing milestone was reached. Late May 2015 saw the return of two lions to Africa. The lion couple Masrya and Nero were the first lucky ones. Saying goodbye to these lions was a bittersweet happening. Both have had a harrowing past, and they were dearly loved by the keepers, volunteers and visitors of Stichting Leeuw.

The couple has found a home on a large fenced stretch of land in South Africa at The Lions Foundation. Because of the physical disabilities they have as a result of their past, they will always need to be fed. The journey to Africa and installing the fences around Masrya and Nero’s new home, was financed by Stichting Leeuw. By donating you can help make their story one of many more.


masrya voedenStichting Leeuw’s proud lioness Masrya is now an entirely different lioness than the sick weak creature once rescued by the foundation. Her story begins in the streets of Cairo, Egypt where she was a picture cub for tourists. Her owner had her declawed to prevent her from scratching tourists while taking photographs.
As she got older she was purchased by a private collector of exotic animals. She was placed in a small cage at the head of a busy street to promote her owner’s private zoo. The cage was big enough to lie down in, to stand up in and to sit in… but that was it. The only thing this majestic creature could do was watch people walk past her cage, day-in and day-out.

stichting leeuw - voor leeuw fotoUntil one day a German tourist noticed Masrya’s hardship and she resolved to help the poor lioness. She contacted Occupy for Animals to ask for their help in helping Masrya. They in turn contacted animal welfare organisation Spots & Stripes and together the two organisations raised the funds and arranged the paperwork to save Masrya.  Stichting Leeuw was asked to provide a place for Masrya to live and once this was arranged the rescue operation was ready to go.
When Masrya finally arrived at Landgoed Hoenderdaell she was so weakened by her limited space to move in and a shortage of red meat in her diet that she could barely walk. After lots of loving care, Masrya is doing much better now.

Masrya is a very people-oriented, friendly lioness. She shared her outdoor enclosure with male lion Nero. The two became inseparable and therefore returned to Africa together. Unfortunately Masrya will never be able to return to the wild because of her physical limitations and because she was declawed.


welp neroThis picture features Nero as a young cub. He grew up at Stichting Leeuw to be a big proud lion and the visitors’ favourite. Nero was the only surviving cub of a nest of four captive born cubs at a French circus. Since the circus had decided to cancel its lion act, Nero was sold to another circus. This circus offered visitors an opportunity to have their picture taken with the cub for payment. Nero was a picture cub. He spent most of his days hidden away from sight in much too small a cage. After receiving a tip from a concerned circus contact, Stichting Leeuw took Nero to their rescue facility at Landgoed Hoenderdaell. Nero wasn’t even 4 months old when he arrived on the estate.

Nero is now an adult lion, but still as playful as ever and sometimes very stubborn and rowdy. Masrya is his partner for life. They moved as a couple to the beautiful large enclosure in South Africa.

You can follow Nero and Masrya on