After spending their whole lives in misery and cruelty in touring circuses in Colombia and Peru, Currently, 33 ex-circus lions are feeling the African sun on their backs and the grass beneath their feet. Animal Defenders International’s tremendous rescue effort resulted in the lions’ remarkable trek return to their own habitat (ADI). Timothy Phillips

Co-founder of Animal Defenders International stated it was extremely difficult to find and save the lions from Colombian and Peruvian illegal circuses.

The usage of circus animals is prohibited in the nations, yet numerous touring circuses continue to operate in isolated locations after the legislation took effect. Teams from ADI collaborated with law enforcement to track down and confiscate the animals.

To secure and save the animals, they frequently had SWAT teams and riot police with them. The lions had to be returned to their rescue facilities after being transported from far-off locations in the Andes.

The undertaking took 18 months to complete! 33 lions were among the 100 creatures protected. These gorgeous large cats have undergone a lifetime of pain, being imprisoned in small cages, being mistreated, and being dismembered. Plans were made to airlift them back to Africa, where they originally came from.

Sadly, the lions will never be able to survive on their own because of their physical condition. Many have had their claws removed and their teeth smashed. “They can’t go back to the wild but they can go back home,” Tim said in an interview.

The lions will live out the rest of their days in peace and freedom at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Vaalwater, South Africa.

“African sun, African night skies, African bush and sounds, clouds, summer thunderstorms, large enclosures in a natural setting where they can remember who they are,” Savannah Heuser, founder of Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, said in a statement.

Tim said bringing the battered, old lions back to Africa is one of his proudest moments.

Wait until you hear the lions roaring behind him at 2:56 in the video below. It’s as if they know they are back home!

Here is another news video of this amazing rescue operation with the lions taking their first steps outside at their new home.

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