Submitted by Steve on 11:32, 7th Sep, 2018 | 0

The GSPCA team were devastated this week on hearing of the very sad death of Marina the lion cub who stayed at the GSPCA back in 2008.

Although many of the team didn’t get a chance to meet the lion cubs that came into the care of the GSPCA back in 2008, their pictures remain on the wall and the story of their journey is often spoke of.

Lorna Prince Animal Welfare Manager who helped care for the lion cubs said “We were sad to learn this week that Marina, one of the two lion cubs that spent time at the GSPCA, had to be put to sleep due to ill health.”

“Marina arrived in February 2008 with her sister Sarnia after being rescued from a future as a circus lion in Romania.”

“They were full of character and very cheeky; no different from the kittens we are used to just so much bigger!”

“Staff became very fond of them during their 3 months stay at the Shelter and were very proud to play a part in helping these two beautiful animals move to a more natural life at Shamwari South Africa.”

“We know Brutus her male companion is still calling for her and the team at Shamwari are devasted, so we send them our warmest wishes and condolences and take comfort in the knowledge that Marina and her sister Sarnia, spent 10 wonderful years in Africa.”

Although we haven’t had any lion cubs since at the GSPCA we had seen a variety of other species coming into our care from Olivia the turtle to the many seal pups. Over 3000 animals come through the doors every year at the Animal Shelter from the smallest of baby birds to the stray horse that turned up in our car park.

As with the two lion cubs it was a wonderful team effort with the GSPCA helping work with other organisations with their journey and it is something we continue you to do working with 100’s of organisations, businesses and charities every year.

Although not being designed for lions wild animals is at the top of the GSPCA priorities currently as we are appealing for funds to help build the first ever Wildlife Hospital in the Channel Islands.

To learn more about our biggest project, become an Exclusive Build Partner and support our Wildlife Hospital please visit

Although it is unlikely you will help with lions we do have some cats that think they are lions and for those looking to help volunteer at the GSPCA the next Volunteer Induction is on Monday 1st October at 630pm and for details please visit

To become an Angel Pen Pal Sponsor to sponsor the many animals in our care and support our work please visit - or to donate to the animals in our care please visit - 

We have many dreams at the GSPCA from the Wildlife Hospital to many others and to see our Wish List on our website please visit -

While at the GSPCA the lion cubs drew a huge amount of support and donations from the wonderful local community and we were hugely grateful to everyone and all that gave so much.

To find out how your business could help us at the GSPCA

Here is an extract from our history about the lion cubs –

February 2008 came another unusual request from the Born Free Foundation: could we take 2 young lion cubs? We didn’t need asking twice! Sarnia and Marina arrived on February 9th, aged about 11 weeks. Born to a circus lioness, in pathetic conditions, both became ill quite quickly and were taken to a Romanian vet who nursed them back to health. Although adorable, as they grew and gained strength, a high rise flat in Romania was not going to be a permanent home and wisely, she contacted Born Free to see if they could take them. As they were too young to be taken out to the Shamwari Game Reserve, a home was required in the intervening months.

One of the kennels in the Quarantine block was soon ably modified by both members of the GSPCA team – a huge scratching post, logs and hanging tyres totally transformed the place into an African jungle gym!

On February 9th, these beautiful lion cubs arrived in Guernsey, accompanied by the Coronation Street actress, Helen Worth (Gail Platt) and Josie Russell. Josie survived a horrific attack that left her mother and sister dead, and Josie struggling for survival. She was being followed by a BBC film crew that were recording Josie’s Journey, a one hour documentary in which Josie revisits people and places that helped speed her recovery after she was left for dead. Both Helen and Josie are fierce campaigners for the Born Free Foundation.

April 24th came all too quickly. Sarnia and Marina had grown so fast that their first travel boxes, previously used for leopards, were too small. Larger ones were made and shipped over for the long journey to Shamwari, South Africa. A licensed animal carrier arrived on the morning of the 24th, and at 6.30pm, our very precious charges were loaded into their crates. Accompanied by Jayne Le Cras (GSPCA Director of Operations at the time) and Jan Wright from Vetcare, their journey back to their natural home began. Condor ferries kindly sponsored the crossing of the vehicle and it took the best part of 6 hours to get to Weymouth and then up to the Animal Reception Centre (ARC) at Heathrow. The following day, the ARC was a hive of activity with 5 television crews all wanting a part of the action.

Amanda Holden, from Wild at Heart, joined the entourage briefly to record her part in ITV’s Drama Trails. The cubs, of course, behaved like true television stars and took it all in their stride! After Amanda had finished recording her part of the programme, Sarnia and Marina were joined at the ARC by Brutus, a massive adult lion who had been rescued by the BFF in France, who was accompanied by Vetcare’s John Knight.

Later that day, they were loaded back into their crates for the next leg of the journey, Heathrow to Nairobi, then on to Johannesburg. After a 4 hour wait, Jayne, Jan and the 2 cubs flew the last leg of the journey directly into Shamwari. Poor Brutus had to travel by road as his crate was too big to be loaded onto the aircraft!

The following morning, with the African sun shining on their backs, Sarnia and Marina were let out into their new enclosure, 3 acre’s of bushland. Gladly, the cubs explored this new area with total glee and Jayne left knowing that her 2 charges were finally “home”.

Sadly Sarnia passed away on the 28th January 2010 but both lion cubs had a wonderful life thanks to all involved for rescuing them and the reserve they spent many happy days living in.

If you would like to help at one of our upcoming events or book a table at our Ball please give Michelle a call on 257261 or email [email protected]

To see the opening hours at the GSPCA please visit –

To see our upcoming guided tours please visit -

For other fund raising ideas and ways to support please visit -

To find out about our Going, Going, Gone Wild conservation project, Memorial Garden & Poison Garden projects with St Andrews Floral Group please visit -


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