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Lions rescued from Kyiv shelter to be housed in Belgium
The Federal Agency for Food Safety (AFSCA) has granted an import permit for two Ukrainian lions that had to be evacuated urgently from an animal shelter in the Ukraine capital Kiev, the federal agriculture ministry said on Thursday.
Faced with the offensive of Russian troops on Ukrainian territory, several animals were transported from Kyiv to the Polish border. The Belgian animal protection association Natuurhulpcentrum has been working to rehome the two lions, Tsar and Jamil, in Belgium.
"Earlier this week, an application for an import permit was submitted to the AFSCA for the lions Tsar and Jamil, who lived at the Wild Animal Rescue centre in Kyiv,” federal agriculture minister David Clarinval said in a statement. “I am therefore pleased to announce that these lions will be allowed to enter Belgian territory fairly quickly, given the exceptional situation."
"The AFSCA gave today (Thursday) its green light for the import of the two Ukrainian lions,” he added. “This rapid approval follows the exceptional and extremely dangerous situation in Ukraine."
Before being accommodated at the Natuurhulpcentrum in Oudsbergen in the province of Limburg, Tsar and Jamil must meet three conditions: they must first be accompanied by their individual passports with identification and vaccination details; they must be vaccinated against rabies in time to be transported to Belgium and then be subject to veterinary import controls at the border control of the European Union.
Upon arrival at the Natuurhulpcentrum, the lions will be quarantined for three months, and a veterinary check will also be carried out, during which a blood sample will be taken for a rabies antibody test.
During this quarantine, the lions will be monitored by the local control unit of the AFSCA for the provinces of Flemish Brabant and Limburg.