Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Building new lives for rescued lions!

Posted: 3 November 2016. Updated: 28 March 2017

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has released a moving new video of a family of ex-circus lions experiencing freedom for the first time, in a natural habitat ADI built for them. Leo, his mate Muñeca and their daughters Kiara and Africa are the first lion family to stride into the specially built natural bush habitat. Altogether over 30 lions will enjoy natural habitats, after being rescued from a lifetime of suffering in circuses in Peru and Colombia earlier this year. Watch the video today:

Now, ADI is asking for help to complete enclosures for Leo’s sons, Coco, Chino and Rolex, so they can live out their lives together in a similar natural habitat.

The new enclosure will cost around £12,500 and will provide the lions, who until rescued by ADI, had spent their lives in tiny, bare cages, deprived of any environmental enrichment and beaten to force them to perform. Now, ADI is building a wonderful forever home at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, and will care for them for life.

The lions will have a night house for feeding and taking shelter, auto-filling water supply providing fresh water 24/7, platforms to climb and play and additional enrichment to the natural bush. The habitats for over 30 lions from South American circuses is costing ADI around £100,000 so the group is appealing for funds for this hugely important mission to secure the future for these lions, and raise awareness of the need to protect all lions, especially in the wild.

Leo’s sons were rescued by ADI on the first day of a huge operation to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. But the circus had blocked the rescue of Muñeca, Kiara and Africa, and then disappeared with them before a court could decide on their fate. ADI never gave up on them and eight months later tracked down the circus over 600 miles away, in a remote region near the border with Ecuador, and Leo’s family was saved.

Since then, the lions have been getting used to their new environment, reconnecting and bonding with each other and undergoing dental surgeries, treatment for neurological, eye problems (some are blind), and sterilisations to prevent breeding. In the circus, many of them have suffered smashed teeth and infected gums, most have had their toes cut off their front feet to remove their claws as well as eye and neurological problems from abuse. These battered animals cannot return to the wild, but it is the aim of ADI and Emoya to give them a life as close to what nature intended as possible.

Leo was recently the unwitting star of another viral video by ADI, watched by tens of thousands of people, as the old boy, groggy with anaesthetic following dental surgery, battled to reach his daughter Africa as she willed him on and reached out for her father. Watch that special moment:

Please help ADI raise £12,500 for Coco, Chino and Rolex’s enclosure. Any extra funds raised will go towards the enclosures for the other ADI lions! DONATE TODAY »

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