Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Lion House screening cancelled due to ongoing lion rescue in Peru

Posted: 21 May 2015

With Lion Ark filmmakers Tim Phillips and Jan Creamer busy overseeing the concluding stages of Operation Spirit of Freedom in Peru – where Animal Defenders International is assisting government with enforcement of its circus animal ban, as we did in Bolivia – the Lion Ark screening planned for June 20th at The Wild Animal Sanctuary Lion House has unfortunately had to be cancelled.

The rescue mission was all set to wrap up in April but the discovery of three illegal circuses in succession meant ADI had the opportunity to ensure that Peru was indeed emptied of its wild animals. Delaying the ADI Spirit of Freedom flight enabled the ADI rescue team to save three lionesses, two monkeys, a tiger, mountain lion and condor – as well as Cholita the bear who Jan and Tim met during the first seizure. The elderly spectacled bear had been living in a zoo after being confiscated from a circus and with no permanent home found for her, ADI was her only hope.

Tim Phillips: “There could not really be a more appropriate reason to cancel a Lion Ark screening than because we are saving more lions! Nevertheless we are very disappointed, we had all anticipated having completed ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom and enjoying Lion Ark with the Peruvian, Bolivian and Colombian lions all around us at TWAS. This rescue has been the biggest of its kind ever undertaken and it is a real credit to the team involved that they have dug in and kept going, spending most of the past year on the road away from home, but committed to not to leaving an animal behind.”

Over 80 animals have been saved since the operation began last August, with many the victims of the illegal wildlife trade. We have already relocated nearly 40 monkeys and other native wildlife to jungle habitats in the Amazon and are now working once again on arrangements to take Cholita and the big cats to their forever homes, leaving us no time to organise the Lion House screening.

The ADI Spirit of Freedom flight that will take lions from Peru and Colombia to a new life at TWAS alone is logistically very complex: 33 lions are being collected from two countries, involving a large ADI team and an enormous amount of ground/air-handling has to be co-ordinated to get them to the airports at the right times. Rescheduling the flight has proved a headache. The aircraft that has been booked was unavailable due to maintenance checks throughout May, and only one day was available in June for all parties in Colorado, but that proved impossible for other logistics. It is hoped the flight will take place as early in July as possible.

Lion Ark is all about saving animals, so if a screening has to be cancelled to help animals in need we will of course do so.

Please get in touch if you had booked flights or hotels.

© Animal Defenders International 2018