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Two lions saved from Mideast wars head to South Africa refuge

Published: Updated:

Two African lions rescued from war zones in Iraq and Syria are heading to a permanent home in South Africa, after resting in Jordan where they recuperated from physical and psychological trauma.

The lions were coaxed with mouthfuls of meat into crates Sunday before being loaded into a cargo truck taking them to Jordan’s airport.

The animal rights group Four Paws International rescued Saeed and Simba in 2017 from zoos in Syria’s Aleppo and Iraq’s Mosul. Most animals in those zoos died.

The two lions arrived emaciated and dehydrated at the Al-Ma’wa Animal Sanctuary in Jordan. The lions received medical care including vasectomies and dental work. They gained weight on a steady diet - with lamb meat saved for special treats.

They will fly from Amman to Johannesburg.