Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Meet the animals rescued during Operation Spirit of Freedom

Posted: 13 January 2015. Updated: 23 August 2016

During Operation Spirit of Freedom ADI assisted the governments of Peru and Colombia with enforcement of new laws prohibiting wild animals in circuses. Over an 18-month period, over 100 animals were saved and an entire cruel industry eliminated.

Meet the animals relocated to sanctuaries in their native environments and even returned to the wild. Before they headed to their forever homes, the animals were cared for at the ADI rescue center near Lima, Peru – a temporary facility where our specialist veterinary team nursed the animals back to better health and introduced individuals to suitable social groups where they could experience the companionship of their own kind. Our rescued animals were also provided with a proper diet and the enrichment they needed to keep them happy, healthy and active!

  • Help us care for the animals and rescue others in need – become an ADI Rescuer US $ / UK £
  • Find out more about the rescue

Meet the Spirit of Freedom animals

Big Cat Rescue

Saved from a circus in Peru by ADI, Hoover was the sole survivor of a group of twelve tigers. Relocated to Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida, Hoover loves to cool off in his spring-fed lake and patrol his spacious enclosure, complete with trees, a large platform, dens and toys. Watch his journey to freedom

Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary

Home for the 33 lions rescued by ADI from circuses in Peru and Colombia, Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary is set on 5,000 acres in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Relocated to their native homeland, the lions enjoy natural habitats in pristine African bush. The lions would not survive in the wild – almost all have been mutilated to remove their claws, one has lost an eye, another is almost blind, and many have smashed and broken teeth. For news and updates visit our Lions Back to Africa site. Watch how 33 lions went home to Africa.

  • The Huaral family: Leo, Coco, Chino, Rolex, Muñeca, Africa, Kiara
  • The Ayacucho brothers: Rey and Simba
  • The Cusco family: Rey, Kiara, Scarc, Mahla, Amazonas, Smith
  • Huachipa Kala
  • The Arequipa family: Rapunzel and David
  • The Huancayo boys: King, Junior and Ricardo
  • The Lima boys: Liso, José and Joseph
  • The Bucaramanga pride: Barbie, Bollilo, Bumba, Junior, Easy, Shakira, Iron, Ojiclaro and Zeus

Pilpintuwasi Animal Orphanage

More than 40 monkeys, kinkajous and coati mundis rescued during Operation Spirit of Freedom, many the victims of illegal trafficking. Reunited with their own kind and returned to their forest home, these animals now enjoy specially constructed habitats at Pilpintuwasi Animal Orphanage near Iquitos, Peru. Watch their journey back to the jungle

  • Capuchin monkeys Chuky, David, Dra Mel, Loquito, Lucy, Marco, Mark, Neko, Otta, Pedrita, Peka, Sandy, Valentino, Valeria and Wally
  • Coati mundis Alexis, Chano, Eva and Jimena
  • Kinkajous Diana, Hera, Igor and Zeus
  • Owl monkeys Meg and Musmu
  • Spider monkeys Annie, Cindy, Mateo, Pepe, Samantha and Valerie
  • Squirrel monkeys Cecil, Cecilia, Ines, Sydney and Willie
  • Woolly monkeys Fausto, Joanna, Rojas, Nena and Panchita

Taricaya Ecological Reserve

Situated near the Tambopata National Reserve in the Amazon cloud forest of Peru, Taricaya Ecological Reserve is home to several of our rescued animals. They include Cholita the real-life Paddington bear, who won hearts around the world after her tale of suffering came to light. Cholita is an elderly bear but young at heart and loves to explore her lush habitat….and check out her new bear neighbours! Watch Cholita’s story

  • Spectacled bears Cholita, Lucho and Sabina
  • Macaw James – who is now flying free!
  • Mountain lion Mufasa – who passed away after a few months of freedom, watch his journey to freedom
  • Spider monkeys Lily, Luciano and PepeLucho
  • Woolly monkeys Diego, Joan and Mr Rojas


The last animals to be rescued during the ADI mission were relocated to Tamushal, a beautiful rescue center in Cordillera Escalera and situated in 150,000 hectares of protected land outside of Tarapoto, Peru.

  • Capuchin monkeys Epiritu and Bigotes
  • Coati mundi Misti

Also rescued…..

4 parrots, 2 condors, 2 terrapins, a fox, iguana, kinkajou, tortoise, and 11 cats.

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