Artis lions not going to France after all
French zoo La Palmyre, that was supposed to take over the care for three lions from the Artis zoo, backed out of the agreement, the Amsterdam zoo announced, NOS reports.
Artis director Rembrandt Sutorius is distraught. “We had everything carefully planned and were completely convinced that we had found a good sport for our lions. Sadly, despite previous information and agreements the stay for the lions is not possible anymore. The French zoo has offered its apologies," he said to NOS.
The three lions, one three-year-old male and two females aged eight and nine years old, were meant to find a new home in France because Artis' current financial position made it impossible to care for them properly. The zoo planned to build a big enclosure for the three, but can not afford to do so in the near future due to plummeting visitor numbers caused by a year of coronavirus lockdowns.
La Palmyre reported it was not possible to welcome the lions anymore due to a series of unfortunate circumstances. The Dutch lions were meant to take over the enclosure of a lioness that herself was planned to be moved to another French zoo. That relocation, however, also did not go through and director of La Palmyre, Pierre Caillé, is afraid that the Dutch lions will attack her.
“It is a risk to place the lions from Artis with our lioness. It is possible that they attack each other”, Caillé said. “We could have placed her temporarily in a smaller enclosure but we did not find that to be an adequate solution.”
It is not yet clear what will happen with the lions now. “We still have to recover from the shock. Fact remains that our financial situation remains worrisome”, Sutorius says. The maintenance cost for the lion enclosure runs up to four million euros. Artis already had to let go of 35 of its employees since the start of the pandemic. The zoo ended 2020 with over one million euros lost in revenue.