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30.07.2004 General News

Taylor's pet lioness stops over

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Accra, July 30, GNA - A pet lioness belonging to former Liberian President Charles Taylor that was abandoned during the heat of the Liberian civil war has been rescued and is to be transported to South Africa via Accra today (Friday).

The transfer being handled by Born Free Foundation, a U.K. Charity is in collaboration with the Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS). It is expected that the rehabilitated lioness would eventually be released into the wild.

During the lioness stop over in Accra, her medical status would be examined and flown on board a South Africa Airways flight to Johannesburg.

A statement signed by Mr Gerald Osei Boakye, Project Manager of the GWS, said given the ecological, tourist, economic and cultural value of lions, the rescue operation, the first of its kind, was dear to the conservationists and animal rights advocates.

He said the large number of lions that once roamed Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia have been reduced drastically.

Currently free roaming lions are mostly found in Africa. Africa Lions, as they are referred to, are listed as vulnerable on the Red List of Threatened Species of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The UN Mission in Liberia (UNIMIL) found the abandoned lioness literally starving to death but the mission staffs took turns to feed the animal with 10 to 15 kilograms portion of fresh meat daily at their own expense.

Later UNMIL realized the need for professional expertise and contacted Dr Jane Goodall, an acclaimed Primatologist, who linked them up with Born Free Foundation.

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