After months of hard work, and the amazing support of all of you, we are happy to announce that flights for all 33 lions rescued from South American circuses were sponsored. They are now enjoying their new home in South Africa at the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary! Their incredible story from heartbreaking abuse to loving care has opened a new chapter, and now they can live out their lives in freedom and in their natural environment.
When Animal Defenders International partnered with GreaterGood.org and The Animal Rescue Site, no one knew how many lions could be sent, or how quickly. It took immense amounts of hard work, and a tremendous outpouring of support, but the results speak for themselves! These are just a few images of the lions' journey to freedom.
The flights to South Africa were captured and tell an amazing story of redemption and hope for the lions. None of them would have survived much longer in the horrific conditions they had been subjected to.
Despite many of them living in tiny cages for most of their lives, many of them seemed calm and even excited to be in the transport enclosures. It's almost like they knew they were going to a happier place!
After a 15-hour flight, and a six hour drive to Emoya, the lions all perked up when they saw their new home. Even with obvious trauma, you can clearly see how happy and inquisitive they are about the world around them.
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Most of these lions have never experienced freedom. Some had never even felt grass before! Having only lived on cement with little to no room to walk (some could barely turn around), they finally get to frolic!
All of these beautiful smiles and excitement are because of YOU. Without your help, these lions wouldn't have a second chance at life. While these 33 are a milestone, the work isn't done yet! We hope to continue caring for these magnificent animals in their wonderful new home.