Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Huge rescue mission launched in Peru to save suffering circus animals

Posted: 15 August 2014. Updated: 13 January 2016


Animal Defenders International (ADI) is embarking on an important collaboration with Peru’s authorities including SERFOR (wildlife and environment), ATFFS (enforcement), and the police.

ADI is providing complete logistical support for the Peruvian authorities as they enforce rules to eliminate the suffering of wild animals in traveling circuses.

In the past week ADI and SERFOR teams have removed nine lions from three different circuses in Huaral, Ayacucho and Cusco in Peru.

The animals are being held in a temporary custody centre specifically built by ADI for the rescue mission, called Operation Spirit of Freedom. All animals will be cared for in the compound, which is also a quarantine facility, before being relocated to specialist sanctuaries.

The rescue in Peru is being entirely funded by donations from ADI supporters. Legendary award winning game-show host Bob Barker has made a substantial contribution to launch the rescue, and ADI supporters around the world are raising funds – including sponsoring individual animals, their food and veterinary care, travel crates or their temporary holding cages in the Spirit of Freedom compound.


The wild animals in circuses are being removed under legislation passed in Peru in 2012. Five South American countries, and a total of 27 worldwide, have banned the use of all or wild animals in circuses. The operation in Peru, overseen by SERFOR Director Fabiola Muñoz, will be one of the largest animal welfare enforcement operations undertaken in the world.

ADI has worked all over the world rescuing and relocating animals in difficult circumstances. In 2011, ADI successfully worked with the Bolivian Government to enforce that country’s animal circus ban. That mission, known as Operation Lion Ark, saw 29 lions from eight circuses airlifted to safety in the USA and numerous other animals rescued and relocated in Bolivia – the operation is the subject of award-winning documentary “Lion Ark”.

The Peruvian authorities have also placed three capuchin monkeys rescued from the pet trade at the Spirit of Freedom centre, which are currently in specially built ADI holding runs until homes can be found at sanctuaries.

Jan Creamer, ADI President: “We are pleased to be assisting the Peruvian authorities with this important mission to save animals from suffering and can put Peru at the forefront of animal protection law enforcement in South America. We are also grateful for the amazing compassion and generosity of Bob Barker and the ADI supporters who are making this possible. This is a huge nationwide operation requiring transport, caging, veterinary and animal care, relocation costs, and much more, so we do urge people to give what they can.”

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