As a part of increased enforcement of laws that make wildlife trafficking illegal for a number of species, 33 lions that have been used in circus events in South America, including 24 from Peru and 9 from Columbia, have been returned to their home continent of Africa.
These countries have active bans on wild animals in circus performances, as do many others. These lions are just a small blip in the number of animals that have been rescued by such efforts, which also include monkeys and birds among other types of circus animals.
Because the small living environment that the animals were subjected to for so long, the lions will have to be gradually re-introduced to a larger living ground to reduce the shock of living space change. This means they’ll slowly be introduced to more and more roaming space so they can get used to the difference in lifestyle.
“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,” Animal Defenders International president Jan Creamer said in a statement.
They have been transported to an animal sanctuary by way of airlift from a MD11F cargo aircraft where they’ll live the rest of their lives in freedom and will be roaming the African grounds as they were intended to from the start before their abductions.
The lions officially touched down this week in their homeland. All of the animals are said to have survived the trip without any issues.
Source: ADI via USA Today