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Qatar Airways Cargo Partners with Animal Defenders International to Return Six Young Lions to Africa

Six young lions rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.

Qatar Airways Cargo has once again joined forces with Animal Defenders International to transport six young lions rescued from the illegal wildlife trade back to Africa as part of the WeQare initiative. The lions, known as the “Kuwait 6,” include males Muheeb, Saham, Shujaa, Saif, and females Dhubiya and Aziza. They were previously cared for at Kuwait Zoo. When Kuwait government officials reached out to Animal Defenders International for help, ADI arranged for the lions to find a permanent home at their 455-acre sanctuary in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Mark Drusch, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways Cargo said: “We are proud to once again be supporting ADI, this time in bringing these six beautiful lions home to Africa. Our WeQare Rewild the Planet initiative is our commitment to returning wildlife and endangered species back to their natural habitat, free of charge. “It takes a lot of effort and logistics for our team to organise moving such large animals; from the logistics at the airports, loading and unloading the animals from the aircraft, to ensuring the correct cages and wellbeing of the animals are in place, but it is something we are all collectively very proud and passionate to be a part of.”

Jan Creamer, President, Animals Defenders International added: “The Kuwait 6 lions have their whole lives ahead of them and will have acres of space at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary. We are thankful to Qatar Airways Cargo and their WeQare programme in once again supporting us by covering the cost of the air transport back to Africa. We are also very thankful to the ADI supporters who are helping to fund their care.”

Alzahra Aljanabi, Senior Translator, Animal Welfare Department, Public Authority of Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources in Kuwait: “We would like to thank the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary for their support and efforts in providing a better habitat for the six lions from Kuwait. We are also thankful to Qatar Airways Cargo for generously offering the air transport. People underestimate the risks of having wild animals as pets. They may be magnificent creatures but they are also predators. We need more awareness to combat wildlife trafficking”. 

Qatar Airways Cargo continues to reaffirm its commitment to animal welfare. The cargo carrier recently opened its new state-of-the-art Animal Centre and relaunched its Live product, setting new benchmarks in the transport of live animals. As a leading transporter, with over 550,000 animals flown in 2023, the airline continues to advocate animal welfare globally, ensuring operations respect and contribute positively to animal well-being.

Qatar Airways Cargo’s WeQare sustainability programme consists of a series of focus chapters based on four core pillars: environment, society, economy, and culture, and is a conscious endeavour to create a more positive impact on the industry and the world. Chapter 2 – Rewild the Planet encourages the preservation of ecological balance by offering free transport to organisations involved in returning wild animals to their natural habitat.