33 lions that were rescued from Colombian and Peruvian circuses have now been airlifted to safety in South Africa. They can now start to enjoy the freedom of the African bush after their release into a Johannesburg sanctuary.
The lions which were previously kept in tiny enclosures were rescued by- Animal Defenders International. 24 of the rescued lions came from circuses in Peru and the other nine from Colombia.
Jan Creamer President of Animal Defenders International has said: “These lions have endured hell on earth and now they are heading home to paradise. This is the world for which nature intended these animals for. It is the perfect ending to ADI’s operation which has eliminated circus suffering in another country.”
Because the lions have spent most of their lives in small enclosures, they will be introduced to larger areas slowly. According to a statement released- “The lion habitats will be steadily expanded over the coming months as the lions become familiar with their new life and are introduced to each other,”
This is great news for the lions, but will be a road of recovery as almost all the big cats had been mutilated, with their claws being removed, many had broken teeth, one is almost blind and another has lost an eye. Due to this they will never be released into the wild, however they will be a lot closer to their natural habitat and the way nature intended them to be.
According to their statement- “TV legend Bob Barker’s DJ & T Foundation helped kickstart the operation in Peru with a major donation that enabled ADI to start raiding circuses and removing animals.”
They added “Others stepped up to fund the $10,000 airfare of individual animals including Oakland Zoo, Dr. Lo Sprague & Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord, Elise Zoli, and the Facebook group ‘Lion Lovers.”
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