Keeper Karel Geurts watches on as the two lions approach each other. One is a lioness named Masrya, and she was once a caged promotional tool for her cruel former owners. The other is a four-month-old lion cub called Nero, who used to belong to a circus. They are both in need of company, but nobody could have guessed what would happen when they met.
This initial meeting took place in early 2013, but the story of Masrya and Nero was a long time in the making. In fact, it is still being told today. It all started, however, when someone spotted a then-unknown lioness caged “at the side of a busy road.”
Still, it wasn’t until this lioness had arrived at a lion foundation called Stichting Leeuw, which is located in the Netherlands, that somebody named her Masrya. And she had made her way to Stichting Leeuw after a long journey from Egypt.
Yes, it was in Egypt that Masrya had spent the early part of her life as a pet. Then, a street trader purchased her. And this trader subsequently used her as seemingly little more than a promotional tool and photography prop for his services.