Ex circus lions rescued from Bulgaria

Jora & Black were released into their new enclosure in the Eastern Cape today.

Brothers, Black and Jora are reunited at the Shamwari Game Reserve after a three day journey from Bulgaria on 28 September 2015. Picture: supplied

JOHANNESBURG - An international wildlife organisation has successfully rescued two lions caged in a beast wagon in Bulgaria, following the government's ban on the use of wild mammals in circuses.

The Born Free foundation says brothers Jora and Black were released into their new enclosure at the Shamwari Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth today.

The two eight-year-old lions were part of a circus act touring Eastern Europe and Turkey.

Black is released into his new enclosure at the Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape on Monday 28 September. Picture: Supplied

Jora is released into his new enclosure at the Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape on Monday 28 September. Picture: Supplied

The foundation's Katherine Gillson says the pair traveled over three days before arriving in South Africa.

"When the crates were first opened and they were released into their enclosure, they were a bit tentative at first but they had their first touch on African soil which was very emotional for all involved."

She says the boys join another three leopards and a lioness at the reserve.

"These lions were particularly circus lions but they have come from situations of not being in their natural habitat and so bringing them here to Shamwari gives them the best possible life that they can have."