A menagerie of animals including lions, tigers and caracals, arrived at a rescue centre in Alicante on Thursday after a nine-day odyssey from wartorn Kyiv.

Amid fears that the animals would be killed by bombs as Russian forces approached, plans were made to get them to safety.

Lion Rescue
The lion’s arriving in Alicante after nine days of transit.
Photo: AAP Primadomus

This is where  AAP Primadomus, the specialised rescue centre for big cats in Vellena in Alicante province stepped up to  help.

They heard an appeal issued on March 1 by Ukrainian NGO Wild Animal Rescue who were working to get as many animals as possible to safety.

Volunteers and staff at the centre offered to drive over and collect as many animals as they could transport in their truck, which turned out to be six young lions, several tigers, two caracals and a wild dog.

Rescue Dog
An emaciated wild dog was also rescued.
Photo: AAP Primadomus

A blockade by Russian tanks initially forced the truck to turn around and give up the animals.

Astonishingly, the driver, at one point being held at gunpoint, refused to hand them over and continued on the journey.

After two days of travel through Ukraine, they were finally able to reach the Polish border, making the crossing on Thursday morning, March 3.

Rescue 4
Photo: AAP Primadomus

Once in Poland, the animals received a veterinary check-up at Poznan Zoo.

After a five day layover, they headed for Spain where they are now said to be settling into their new home.

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