While on a short summer break in the Northern-part of the Netherlands (Friesland), we visited the Big Cat Centre FELIDA. Felida is located in a small village Nijeberkoop, and takes care of big cats that were abused, neglected or discarded and were forced to live under poor conditions in private captivity, circuses and zoos.
As you can read from their website, Four Paws officially became involved with the big cat centre in Nijeberkoop at the end of 2013. Since then a lot has happened: Several animals have been brought to Lionsrock, a big cat sanctuary in South Africa. As a result, more space became available for the animals staying behind.
We were hosted by Simone, and met some of the staff working at Felida. Of course, we were also able to see the animals that are currently been taken care off, like the young lion brothers Masoud and Terez, and their Uncle Ivan-Asen, rescued from a zoo in Bulgaria. The lions Lenci and Bobby, that were rescued from ‘Europe’s worse zoo’ in Albania, and the tigress Dehli. All of them with their own stories of abuse, inbred, and more…
As was explained, Felida was able to develop into a ‘special care’ centre for big cats with physical or mental traumas. With great admiration we looked at the work done. The big cats we saw were rescued from poor conditions, and are unable to be released into the wild. Felida provides them the care they need and the staff is very commitment to do this in the most optimal way. We left with mixed feelings. Somewhat sad, realizing that this work is needed, and that there are still people mistreating these beautiful animals. But also with a positive vibe, knowing that other people do care. Kudos to the team and work done at FELIDA!