Romany and Gypsy can be seen in this beautiful photograph in Holland where they now live for the first time having good care and grass to laze in and platforms to rest on and see the world.

In 2002, Romany and Gypsy were in a deplorable filthy cage with rusted bars. The outside ground was uneven concrete and inside had never been cleaned. The water left for them to drink was nearly empty and had a ferocious smell. The lions were disabled:with weak spines and legs turned backwards. Their coats were unkempt and dull. They seemed old, listless and distressed although at the time they were very young. I was horrified to see the uneducated caremen at the Zoo in Buhusi, Romania mock them or kick them without hesitation. It was heartbreaking. Perhaps they took out their own frustration and poverty on these two easy victims.

From time to time over the years this incredibly loving couple, male and female lions, would move beside each other for comfort. I had the sense that the only thing that kept them alive was their unbiased affection. And as we improved the cages placing heaters indoors for winter warmth, improved food and cleaned the cages, they looked much better. But we always feared they were in unbearable and familiar ongoing pain.

As the years passed , I saw them gain dignity as Jane and Sue offered them bags of hay with lavender that they loved to play with and we started putting some grass and hay in their cages. When the three lions who shared the adjacent cages left for South Africa, Born Free opened up the entire space for them and created new platforms for them to stay dry. They started to walk and some times run when ever Alina, our in country partner, visited them. She would call their names and they would charge across the cage. But still they were imprisoned in painful bodies and a far too small enclosure with brutal winters.

by 2007 we had Large tree trunks for scratching placed in the concrete to withstand their scratching, and new ramps allowed them to enter the inside area which had been cleaned and fresh water supplied. But the Zoo legally closed and no one thought it was worth rehoming the two disabled creatures. The options were either let them starve or have the caremen euthanize them. Both horrible deaths.

Watching their palpable pleasure in mutual affection, it became obvious that they were not in awful pain and that they adored one another. With a better diet their dulled eyes had begun to brighten and their coats were starting to look less weathered and tattered. We insisted that they not be shot or cruelly euthanized! Through some miracle, Pantera Sanctuary in Holland agreed to take Romany and Gypsy across Europe in a van and give them a chance…… if they survived the journey.

There are so many details to this story that would take hours to describe. But the fundamental story is one of faith and a kind of miraculous strength of love that they shared which inspired us all. Somehow we had the sense that they understood that we were going to keep them alive so they could have a life beyond Buhusi. As they journeyed, Jane, Sue (my partners in Lions Roar) and Alina in Buhusi were sleepless. We arranged Reiki from three continents in hope it would bring them comfort. We were concerned that we had destined them to an excruciating trip from which they would not survive. They arrived in tact. For the first time in their lives, the two lions had an indoor area that would be kept clean, a grassy outdoors, appropriate food, experienced care that knew about lions and medical help. Their conditions could not be changed, but with medical care their lives have improved tremendously.

Over the months Romany and Gypsy began to thrive. Their coats are now thick. They have recieved medical help as much as possible and good nutrition. They have had the quiet of a sanctuary rarely visited so that no one stares at their bodies or insults them. And they have healed. If you look at the photo of them above, you can see their basic satisfaction. If you look on our website you can see where they came from. There is a slide show of how they looked in Buhusi.

Lions Roar has a special arrangement with Pantera since they took the two lions as an act of mercy and kindness, and a raw faith in saving animals that did not deserve to suffer. We are still paying for their food and medical care and will continue to until Pantera moves to its new expanded territory. At that time the lions will have a much larger and more sophisticated habitat with more space to roam and the cost will no longer be ours. But we are committed to Romany and Gypsy. If you look at their photos and read about them, you might fall in love with them the way we have.

We are still for donations, large or small, to help us pay for their food until Pantera moves to another larger and better equipped area. . Please go to our pages and read more about them.
Please donate and help us keep our lovers happy!! See our HOW TO HELP PAGE ON THE BLOG


Every so often Trish Holford of Born Free sends us updates about our two lions from Buhusi, Jools and Jerry, a mother and son, who are living at the Shamwari Lion Sanctuary in South Africa.

When I first arrived in Buhusi, Romania two male lion cubs had just been born. They shared two small concrete adjacent cages with their mother and father, an aging male lion named Bette. He was the father of most of the lions that had been born in Buhusi. At 25 years of age, Bette died. We watched the tiny cubs grow until it was painful to see them with their mother, all full grown lions in a small space. Even with only three they hardly had any extra room.

However, they were always curious about us when we visited, particularly when we approached quietly and slowly. It was the site of Bette, his noble and sorrowful face, living a life of captivity in the worst of conditions, that inspired me to begin the Lions Roar in 2001. At the time the only consolation was that a science teacher named Mr. Gheorghiu who was also aging with Bette loved him dearly and visited him every day. After his death the cubs now the size of their mother Jools would come to the cage bars and watch myself and the children who were helping me clean the zoo. (there were nearly 30 sometimes as many as 86 Roma kids from the nearby suburb of Buhusi called Le Colonie who spent weeks of their summer at our summer camp sponsored by Ovidiu Rom.

In 2008 Born Free arranged for the two boys and their mother to travel to S. Africa. It has been both a blessing, and a bit of a sad story. The second brother died a year after his arrival. We were grateful that at least he had that time with his family in an open meadow and hillside on green grass with bushes to hide in! We have recieved reports and are sharing them now on the blog!!!

Here is our news for the day:

Jools and Jerry

Rescued from Buhusi Zoo in Romania

Jools’ skin condition is looking good and she is healthy too. These two spend most of their time sleeping in the shade or under the acacia bushes grooming each other when it’s warm. Jerry is doing well, always glued to his mum. It’s really good to see them relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. These two have a large appetite and they really like their food, especially Jools. You will see her with saliva running out of her mouth. Jerry always stands at a distance waiting for Jools to take her food first and then he would come and take his.

Jools and Jerry lazing around with full bellies after being fed (Photo to come)

Laura Simms

Dingos returned to Australia

The two female dingos, Lena and Janis, are now in a beautiful sanctuary in Australia with long runs and good food and lots of dingo company. They are being slowly detraumatized in a deeply personal way and brought to health and what we are assured is a happy future. This is a near miracle.

We will keep you updated on their progress as we receive news.  Several weeks ago, Tehree Gordon began their new training, sleeping beside them and slowly gaining their trust after their many years of mistreatment in Romania. We are waiting for photos and will post a whole gaggle of news and pics as soon as we receive them. But we are assured that they are making great progress.

The hope is that in the months to come they will not only get to walk on grass and soil, but become part of a dingo pack and begin the rest of their lives in their ancestral land.

Before Lions Roar happened upon the devestated Buhusi zoo fallen on terrible times in Northern Romania, there were twelve dingos kept in awful circumstances: overcrowded, filthy, concrete, bad diet and no appropriate care conditions. I watched them shiver from the cold in the winter and fear of the caremen and visitors who fed them junk food and threw things at them. In the spring I watched them sit outside on wet concrete staring at a grassy meadow or across the road at five lions who paced and cried in hunger.

Now thanks to Tehree and her amazing team of dingo carers, Lena and Janis are undergoing a process of inner and outer transformation so they can join a dingo pack and live a more natural life. The dingos in Buhusi never dug in the the earth or ran on grass. They lived in overcrowded circumstances. These outback creatures were condemned to freezing winters and hot summers with inadequate water. The two girls are now in Jirrahlinga Wildlife Sanctuary! Previously they were the two rejected and abused canines from the two groups of dingos. The two other surviving dingos were taken by a different and (hopefully) improving Romanian zoo, but our girls were left in small cages, seperated and howling. They were maimed and depressed.

When Pantera Sanctuary generously offered a home to our two disabled lions, the sanctuary’s owner also took pity on the dingos and rescued them in temporary accomodation in Holland. It was a long drive across Europe and a difficult transition. Unfortunately, although they had better food and medical care, Pantera was unsuitable for dingos on a permanent basis and could not give them the rehabilitation they needed. Sue and Jane fought to find a way to send them home to Australia. If you read about them on our website you can find out about the amazing Australian ladies, Linda and Tehree, who stepped up to help us and the emotional journey they took.

For us to receive news that they are allowing human beings to feed them, so they can recieve medical help and relearn how to enjoy their lives without trembling fear is the most astonishing and joyous news.

We hope you will love seeing our creatures flourish,

Laura, Jane, Sue and Alina
four women and four continents of care

Welcome to our new Lions Roar Blog –

The reason we began this blog is to let our friends and donors remain informed about the lives of the animals that have been rehomed by the Lions Roar.  You can read about us on our website http://www.thelionsroar.eu    We plan to update whenever we have news.  Please subscribe so you can read our pages.

The Lions Roar is a small international charity that is dedicated to improve the lives of animals worldwide in captivity.  Our main endeavor since 2002 has first to improve a zoo, and then when the zoo closed because it was not up to the EU standards in Romania, we set out to rehome and save the animals that would have been left to starve.   Our LionsRoarBlog is a blog of hope and transformation. You will read about our two disabled lions who are living a much improved  life in the Pantera Zoo in Holland;  about the mother and son lions that thrive  in South Africa; a partially blind lioness named Bella, our beloved heroine, who is flourishing in Malawi; the five bears rehomed in a wildlife park in Brasov Romania, including a blind Tibetan female in her special enclosure;  about dogs, cats, doves, goats and horses that were rescued; and our two baboons whose once miserable lives have been turned around in a better zoo in Romania where they live side by side with other baboons and released of the agonizing humiliation of daily mistreatment, filthy surroundings and loneliness.

Some of the  that we plan to tell are about the owls and turtle, the roosters and goats that all lived in Buhusi Zoo and the people who visited them. Part of our story is about the amazing resilience and heart of animals. Part of the story is about the aftermath of Communism and Holocaust and how it effected a once wealthy community that had a zoo once adored. And Part of the story is about the difference that we can make as caring human beings because or your support and compassion. We have great partners and friends worldwide. Our circle of astonishing people expands all the time.


We dedicate this blog to all the children in Buhusi who used to come to the zoo to help us feed and care for the animals and who we hope are sleeping through the night knowing that the animals have new  homes.

some of the children in buhusi had lives that were not much better thanthe animals they tried to help.  Their generosity and joy was inspiring.


And of course, there are many animals over the years who never made it and those are tragic tales but worth the telling as well.


We hope you will love seeing our creatures and reading about their new lives.
Laura, Jane, Sue and Alina