We always love hearing heartwarming stories about animals that have been rescued and can now live a better life that they had been living.

Usually it's just regular cats or dogs that have been rescued and become the family pet. This time it's big cats... but just cubs at the moment. 4 lion cubs from the Ukraine have been rescued and brought to Minnesota to live in a wildcat sanctuary.

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CBS News reported that these lion cubs had been in Poland after surviving the bombings and drone attacks that have been happening on the regular in Ukraine. They were transferred to Sandstone where the wildcat sanctuary is located in Minnesota.

"This has been a whirlwind," said Wildcat Sanctuary Founder Tammy Thies. "To see these cubs finally here at sanctuary is the best feeling I could have ever hoped for."

Apparently they have been working on this transfer since September.  It didn't come without a lot of red tape, however. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) got involved to help get these cubs rescued and transferred to somewhere safe.  There were no more spots available in Europe.  So, they then looked elsewhere...the states.

"For this rescue, there were so many different pieces and different players that all had to be perfectly aligned to have a success," said IFAW Rescue Manager Meredith Whitney. "We did have moments, more than I'd like to admit, where we thought 'this is never going to work'."

One thing that almost held everything up was the advancement into the Winter season. Apparently there is a rule that when you transfer animals the temperature needs to be above 45 degrees.  That, at the time, was getting very close to not happening because of the dropping temps. But they moved quickly, or they would have had to wait until next Spring. Luckily the temp (at the time) stayed above 45 so they could get the animals transferred into the wildcat sanctuary.

The sanctuary is home to more than 100 lions, tigers and more.  (not bears...I know what you were thinking. So was I).  Unfortunately, or fortunately the sanctuary isn't open to the public. But it is non-profit and they do take donations.  If you would like to donate, you can do so on their website. 

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