Circuses have a well deserved reputation for rampant animal abuse. This can range from poor diets or housing, to the outright slaughtering of the animals over behavior or failure to perform. In the United States there has been an overwhelming outcry against the way circus animals are treated, leading to many animals being saved. While there is hope in the US, many countries are still home to some of the most horrifically brutal zoos and circuses. That is where Animal Defenders International and Greater Good come in.
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.
Take a look at the animals that were saved because of you. This is why we fight so hard to help animals across the globe!
Chino was one of the first lions saved through Operation Spirit of Freedom. The circus amputated his toes in order to remove their claws, preventing him from ever being able to survive in the wild. His new home is tailor made for his needs, and he will live a happy life from now on!
Amazonas was found in a tiny cage with a castrated male lion, along with numerous other lions crammed into enclosures that barely gave them space to move. There was even an angry mob attempting to prevent her rescue!
Bolillo arrived a surly, terrified cat, but being free to run and socialize has helped him to calm down and enjoy life!
Kala started out nervous, terrified, and very aggressive when she was taken to the sanctuary. She was taken from the circus in a cruelty prosecution, leaving her on her own at a young age. She was living in a zoo where she was attacked and lost a good portion of her tail. Now that she has learned she is safe, she has become an amazing soccer player and is no longer scared of people!
Not to play favorites, but this might be one of the most precious images ever! Joseph arrived nearly blind. In fact, the zoo he came from just called him “Blind” instead of giving him a real name. Now that he has a proper diet and is getting the nutrition he needs, his cataracts have improved, but he will always need special care and enclosures. Thankfully he will be able to enjoy his life now!
Bumba is another lion surrendered by a Colombian zoo. Bumba, along with eight others lions, was immediately surrendered to ADI when the law against wild animals in circuses was passed. He now lives with some of his circus mates, finally able to run and play with them!
Iron is the very definition of majestic. Despite the obvious scars, he manages to be the perfect example of a lion. He is cool, calm, and a very active dreamer. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see him “running” in his sleep!
Kiara was saved after the circus she was in went to ground. After 8 months of searching, she was finally found and brought to safety! She is energetic, loving, and a huge fan of sunbathing!
Despite her name, her life was anything but easy. However, her spirit was strong enough to endure, and now look at her. She lives with the lioness Shakira, and the two of them spend their days playing and enjoying the fresh air!
Africa’s father, Leo, was rescued from the circus in the first mission of the Spirit of Freedom rescue operation. 8 months later ADI tracked down the circus again to save the lionesses they were forced to leave behind, and gave her a new lease on life!
Barbie is another lioness taken from disgusting conditions in the circus. Looking at her now, it’s impossible not to fall in love!