Big Cat Rescue mission gives sanctuary to circus animals

Ban on circus performances only partial help.

A tiger is catching the food.A tiger is catching the food. (Source: Radka Minarechová)

A piece of raw meat hangs from a wooden pole in the middle of a pen. Suddenly, a tiger jumps, snatches “the catch” and then drags it away to find a quiet spot to eat.

Dozens of people watch on as the tiger disappears with its food. Standing behind a glass wall at the Malkia Park – Big Cat Rescue animal sanctuary in western Slovakia, they listen as a member of staff tells them interesting facts about the animals at the sanctuary, including their age, where they originally came from or how much they eat a day.

SkryťTurn off ads
Article continues after video advertisement
SkryťTurn off ads
Article continues after video advertisement

SkryťTurn off ads

“Many people mistake us for a zoo, but we’re not a zoo,” said Klaudia Kollár, founder of the Malkia Park – Big Cat Rescue sanctuary near Orechová Potôň, about 40 kilometres from Bratislava.

Malkia Park is one of only a few organisations in Slovakia which rescues wild animals from circuses or private zoos.

After a long and hard-fought campaign by the Sloboda Zvierat (Animal Freedom) association, a law came into effect last September in Slovakia prohibiting the use of wild animals in circus performances.

However, while supporters have cheered the law, there is no legislation governing the responsibilities of circuses and private owners of these animals when they retire from shows.

This is where places like Malkia Park come in.

Living in a natural environment

The sanctuary is named after Malkia – which translates from Swahili as ‘Queen’ – the first lioness Kollár rescued.

The rest of this article is premium content at
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on and

Top stories

A supporter of Russia during one of the so-called "True march for peace" events.

News digest: Some bad news stories from Slovakia

Hints of Russia winning information war in Slovakia, interview with new Foreign Affairs Minister, and an event for book lovers.

15 h
Jupiter (centre) and its Galilean moons: from left Ganymede, Io, Europa and Callisto. Juice with deployed antennas and arrays is in the bottom right.

From Košice to Ganymede: Slovak engineers are leaving their mark in space

Slovaks are active participants in two ongoing space missions.

20. may
Miroslav Wlachovský.

MFA Wlachovský: Slovaks would be surprised by what Russians say about us

The new head of Slovak diplomacy, Wlachovský, explains what he wants to accomplish.

19 h
Marian Kočner arrives in court in Pezinok, western Slovakia, on May 19, 2023.

Slovak court's verdict in Kuciak case leaves 'bitter taste'

Zsuzsová was found guilty of masterminding the murder of the journalist, but the judges could not find any direct evidence linking Marian Kočner, a subject of Kuciak's stories, to the murder.

23 h
SkryťClose ad