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Animal Defenders International

Operation Lion Ark: The Story So Far

Posted: 8 January 2011. Updated: 3 February 2011

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In an historic world first, Animal Defenders International has rescued an incredible 25 lions from eight circuses in Bolivia.

Please donate to the Save The Lions Fund today:

Accompanied by the Bolivian authorities, the ADI team travelled all over Bolivia seizing lions and other animals from shocking conditions in circuses. We collected 17 lions in 15 days in late November and a final 7 lions in early December. The final lion is due to be rescued in February.

Malnourished, thin and dehydrated lions were found in tiny cages on wheels. One circus had a staggering eight lions in a small cage, little bigger than two double beds, on the back of a truck.

This rescue mission is a direct result of ADI’s groundbreaking ‘Stop Circus Suffering‘ campaign, which has spread throughout South America and is making a difference for animals everywhere. In a campaign lasting seven years, ADI carried out undercover investigations in South American circuses, exposing horrific levels of suffering and mistreatment. Following the publication of the findings from the investigations, ADI began campaigning for new legislation to ban the use of animals in travelling circuses. In 2009, Bolivia became the first country in the world to put in place a national ban on the use of any and all animals in circuses.

Watch: Please help save the Bolivian ex-circus lions


These twenty five lions have come a long way from their old life in the circus: they are now being nursed back to health in an ADI compound in Santa Cruz on land donated by the city Mayor. The animals are being prepared for a record-breaking airlift to a wildlife sanctuary in the USA, where they will live out the rest of their days in safety and comfort.

Please donate to the Save The Lions Fund today:

  • Make a donation - UK
  • Make a donation - US
  • Call (U.K.) 020 7630 3340
  • Call (U.S.) 323 935-2234
  • Mail UK - Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP
  • Mail U.S. - 6100 Wilshere Boulevard, Suite 1150, Los Angeles, CA 90048


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