33 Circus Lions Make Their Way Home To South Africa

33 Circus lions from Peru and Columbia have been rescued and will be flown back home to Africa today. The Animal Defenders International – ADI says this will be the highest airlift of lions to Africa by the agency.

According to ADI, the lions are in poor health. This is because of the nature of the circus performance. To avoid stage hazards and accidents, their claws were clipped and their teeth removed. One has lost an eye and another is nearly blind. The incapacitated wild cats will be returned to the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo, South Africa. A more natural habitat which will boost their health conditions.

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The return of these abused lions is courtesy of the ADI. It is a UK based non-profit organization that dedicates its services to fighting the abuse of wild animals used for circus shows. The organization has worked with the Peruvian and Colombian governments “to pass bans on wild animals in circuses.”

ADI  rescued about 24 of the lions in “surprise raids” in Peru during a circus show. One was voluntarily handed over to them in Columbia. The agency said they were discovered in “cages on the backs of trucks.”

“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.” – Jan Creamer, ADI President.

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The climate of the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary makes the wildlife destination the best option for the rescued lions to recuperate. The Sanctuary which is a private property of the Heuser family is already home to 6 lions and 2 Siberian tigers.

All 33 circus lions will be flown into Africa in a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 cargo aircraft. The ADI says the lions will be supervised all through the flight.

“The animals have to be in travel crates of a certain specification for international travel.”