The three lions — Lenci, Bobby and Zhaku — from the Tirana Zoo in Albania have been sedated and in about 48 hours will wake up at the Felida Big Cat Centre in the Netherlands.

Ioana Dungler, the project leader from Four Paws, an international animal welfare group, said experts had put the lions in specialized vehicles Tuesday and were driving to the Netherlands.

The lions and eight other animals had been removed from a private zoo in western Albania due to fears they were malnourished. They had remained caged at the public Tirana Zoo, which Four Paws also considers unfit, while authorities were in a legal dispute with their former owners.

Dungler said the lions were allowed to leave after other nations and animal groups put pressure on Albanian authorities.