Zoo Leopards Find New Home at Preserve

UK actress wins their release, with help from Monaco's Prince Albert
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2008 6:00 PM CST
Prince Albert II of Monaco watches as two zoo employees carry the sedated leopard Sirius, at Monaco zoo, Monday, Jan. 7, 2008. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Brother-sister pair Sirius and Pitou grew up in a French traveling circus, spent the last nine years at the Monaco zoo, and have now found a new home at a wildlife preserve in South Africa. The 16-year-old leopards undertook their recent journey—sedated and via two airplanes—thanks to British actress and conservationist Virginia McKenna, the Telegraph reports.

McKenna persuaded Monaco's reigning prince, Albert II, to grant the leopards their freedom. Her animal welfare organization, Born Free, arranged the big cats' transport to a fenced-off area of the preserve, where they were last spotted feasting on antelope. Albert has promised McKenna that he will also release a camel, a hippo, and other zoo animals.