This past Sunday, we celebrated Mother's Day - a day dedicated to saying "thank you" to the women who never stop working hard to raise their children. Even though we only designate one day of the year as "Mother's Day," moms all over the world give it their all 365 days a year. And this doesn't just apply to people - the animal kingdom is full of inspiring examples of motherhood.
One animal who truly embodies the spirit of motherhood is a lion named "Masrya." Raised in harsh conditions in Egypt, this female lion's chances of survival weren't good. Thankfully, against all odds, she was rescued and relocated to an enclosure where she could finally be happy. Most rescue stories would end there, but Masrya's was just getting started. Continue reading to learn all about the little lion cub who changed Masrya's life forever. When I saw where the two of them are today, I couldn't help but smile.
This is Masrya. She used to live out her days in a small, cramped cage without much interaction with other animals. Then, something incredible happened ...
This is Masrya today. She's currently living in the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. She has plenty of room to run, play, and take care of her newly adopted son, Nero. So, how did a big cat with big dreams escape her dismal conditions and find hope in Africa? Let's just say this isn't your average rescue story.
Masrya's journey began in Egypt. When she was just a cub, Masrya was kept as a pet that tourists paid to take photos with. Her claws were taken from her to ensure that she wouldn't hurt anyone while she sat out in the street. As she grew older, however, her owner struggled to keep her under control, so he put her in a cage next to the street.
At two years old, things didn't look good for Masrya. If no one stepped in and did something, she would spend the rest of her life trapped in that cage.
Then, in July of 2012, one woman changed everything. We don't know what compelled Saskia Berndt to rescue Masrya, but we're sure glad she did! Berndt contacted an organization called Occupy For Animals and began taking steps towards a full rescue for Masrya.
It wasn't easy, but after some fundraising help from Spots & Stripes Conservation, the young lion was finally relocated to the Netherlands in February of 2013. There, she found a home with the Stichting Leeuw Lion Foundation. They determined that she was healthy, relatively clean, and surprisingly unaggressive towards people.
After years of abuse and neglect, Masrya could run through the grass and feel like a real lion for the first time in her life.
It wasn't long before Masrya met Nero, a four-month-old lion cub who lived right next door to her at the enclosure.
Similar to Masrya, Nero was kept as a prop at a circus in France where audience members would take pictures with him. While there's no justification for what Masrya went through, her shared experience made her the perfect maternal figure for Nero.
Stichting Leeuw knew that Nero needed a mother and that Masrya needed another lion to keep her company. Ever since they were paired up, they haven't left each other's side.
Now, nearly three years later, Nero has grown up to be a strong, beautiful lion thanks to the care he received from Masrya and the enclosure.
But there's still one big step left in their journey. About a year ago, the foundation in the Netherlands thought it would be best for Masrya to return home to Africa. Of course, she wasn't about to leave her newly adopted son behind! The two of them left the enclosure that had been so good to them and found a new home at the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary. Here's a video of the two lovely lions playing together:
Nero had a difficult past, but you wouldn't be able to tell that by looking at him. Doesn't he look so stoic?
Even though he's a serious, grown-up lion, Nero still has time to give his mom a kiss.
Masrya and Nero overcame unspeakable conditions to make it to where they are today. Whatever happens going forward, they know that they will always have each other.
For even more of Masrya and Nero, check out the video below to see what their entire journey looked like:
Don't forget to SHARE this beautiful bond with your friends and family!
H/T: The Dodo