Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

New destination for rescued lions

Posted: 24 June 2015. Updated: 24 June 2015

33 lions rescued by Animal Defenders International (ADI) from circuses in Peru and Columbia will not be rehomed in Colorado as originally announced.

In a joint statement today, Animal Defenders International (ADI) and The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) have agreed that the 33 lions ADI rescued in Peru and Colombia as part of its larger Operation Spirit of Freedom will not be going to The Wild Animal Sanctuary. The Wild Animal Sanctuary will continue its mission to provide care to other rescued animals in need, and ADI will complete Operation Spirit of Freedom by securing excellent homes for its rescued animals and working with legislators to enact laws to protect captive animals.

As a result of changes in critical circumstances, ADI and TWAS determined that they could not meet each other’s needs with respect to this rescue, and ultimately concluded that for the sake of the animals first and the two organizations second, it was better for ADI and TWAS to pursue more conducive alternatives.

ADI has been and remains entirely responsible for the rescue and care of the Operation Spirit of Freedom animals. The lions are thriving, but the rescue is far from complete. ADI continues to work with government officials to rescue more animals. ADI has already successfully placed more than half of the 80 animals rescued during Operation Spirit of Freedom, and looks forward to completing its mission. Decades of research and planning, passionate lobbying world-wide, and high risk sacrifices are made to get permanent legal protections for animals, not for a moment of rescue, but for the animals’ opportunity to enjoy freedom, health and welfare for the remainder of their lives. Homes are being prepared for all of the animals, and ADI looks forward to sharing updates on Operation Spirit of Freedom.

This decision also brings many promising opportunities for TWAS. This will allow the Sanctuary to use its space to house and shelter any number of lions or other wildlife rescued from circuses, roadside attractions, or those being held as pets. The size and scale of the captive wildlife problem in the USA and internationally is such that there is urgent and desperate need for a place like the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary will be put to good use and fill this need in saving many more lives. TWAS will continue to provide wildlife a refuge and safe haven for many years to come.

ADI and TWAS graciously thank and are deeply appreciative of everyone who supports their respective efforts, and will be personally reaching out to its supporters.

ADI President Jan Creamer said, “Spirit of Freedom has been a very long operation, our joint work with the governments of Peru and Colombia are ongoing and we are collecting more animals in the coming weeks. With circuses trying to evade authorities and many different species of animals from different locations, it is to be expected that circumstances will change and for destinations for animals to be reviewed – we are moving on and continuing to relocate our rescued animals to six permanent homes.

Media contact:
Fleur Dawes +44 (0)7785 552548 or +44 (0)20 7630 3344

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