33 lions, including those called Ricardo, Shakira, and Zeus, are destined for freedom. The lions, rescued from circuses in Colombia and Peru, are headed for a trip of a lifetime, a trip that will land them in a sanctuary in Africa.
The “largest lion airlift” is scheduled for Friday and is organized by Animal Defenders International. The organization has worked alongside the governments in Peru and Columbia to help curb the abuse associated with circuses.
The lions were found in terrible condition- some with missing claws, broken teeth, and vision problems. One, called Ricardo, is even missing an eye.
The Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, co-founded by Minenette Heuser, is the future home for these amazing animals. Being in Africa, the climate is appropriate and the area is suited for their needed. The sanctuary already houses two Siberian tigers and six lions and has plenty of space for the new animals to join and live the remainder of their days.
Transportation is tricky. Big planes are required, as well as specific sized travel crates. The lions must remain safe and comfortable, and will not be sedated for the trip.
According to Animal Defenders International, the animals will be grouped on the planes so they will be near family members.
Animal Defenders International and other animal organizations rely on donations and crowd funding to support their rescue missions and transportation costs.
Several countries in South America have attempted to ban animal circuses, but enforcement has been spotty, as they are common and not always well-regulated. Organizations such as ADI step in to help in the places most needed.
To learn more about ADI, make a donation, or follow the story of the lions’ travel to their new home, you can visit ADI’s website. http://www.ad-international.org/adi_home/