Photos by nicholesobecki | Meet Karlos and Ivana, two of the lion cubs rescued from South Africa’s Pienika Farm in April. The cubs are slowly recuperating under the nurturing hand of University of Minnesota neurology Ph.D. candidate Jessica Burkhart, who’s in charge of the cubs’ physical therapy at Old Chapel Veterinary Clinic. Veterinarian Peter Caldwell told us that at the time of their removal, the cubs “were in severe, excruciating pain … They were screaming like little babies almost.” Ivana had been near death. Three months of around-the-clock care have helped the cubs recover, but they’ll never heal completely. For this National Geographic investigation writer rachelfobar and I were invited to Pienika, the controversial South African lion breeding farms that also offers sport hunts—and where Karlos and Ivana were born. Follow me nicholesobecki for updates, outtakes, and more. Story link in my bio.

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