Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

The Release of Camba, Simba, Dactari and Bambek

Posted: 7 July 2010. Updated: 15 October 2015

For ADI, who have undertaken rescues of animals around the world, it has been one of the most challenging rescues to date: the rescue of the first circus animals to be freed following the Bolivian ban on animal circuses.

In a journey that has come up against many obstacles, four lucky lions have finally arrived in California, to experience their first taste of freedom in a custom-built state-of-the-art enclosure.

ADI funded this entire operation with the support of Bob Barker; ADI funded the construction of the facilities at PAWS where the animals will live and the holding facilities in Bolivia; and ADI funded the move.

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Watch: Bolivian Circus Lions go to PAWS Paradise

The Background to the Release

Read more on the remarkable journey of how these four ex-circus lions arrived in California after a life in the circus:


The Arrival

Once the ADI Rescue Team reached ARK 2000, the lions were unloaded into their new enclosure. They were safely transferred into a common area, the males separated from the female.

This area, which also houses their sleeping quarters, was in itself larger than anywhere they had ever lived. That same morning, at 11:00 on Friday 28 May, the lions were finally released into their wonderful new natural habitat that ADI have constructed at the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

Just months earlier these lions were being held in a rusting cage, and the largest area they had ever been in was the circus ring. When they stepped out into their brand new enclosure, it was the first time their paws had touched grass; the first time they had seen sky except through bars; the first time they had run more than a few steps; and the first time they could play together properly, in a natural environment.

As Calaveras County nears temperatures of 100°F this summer, these four lucky lions will be basking in the Californian sun, surrounded by trees, mountains, and the open sky – for the first time in their lives.

The next few weeks will be very busy as the experts at ARK 2000 carefully evaluate each animal and determine if any further necessary medical treatment may be required. Each of the lions’ diets will be assessed, and progress reports will be updated several times each day.


ADI’s commitment to help more circus animals in Bolivia

Recently, the Bolivian authorities contacted ADI to discuss the possibility of providing assistance with the management and possible relocation of other lions.

However, discussions need to take place on streamlining the export process. ADI will continue advising the authorities on relocation strategies, and where possible mediate with sanctuaries and other animal protection groups around the world to provide support.

This rescue is not merely symbolic, it shows that ADI is prepared to make a real commitment with governments to ensure that bans on animal circuses can be fully implemented and animals can be saved. As other animals need homes we will be assessing these on a case by case basis.

Read more:

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