Nearly 3 dozen rescued circus lions to be airlifted to new life in South Africa

CCTV News

a lion in a cage

Thirty-three lions rescued from circuses in Peru and Colombia will be airlifted to South Africa on Friday, following years in abusive captivity.

CCTV’s Dan Collyns has the story. 

Nearly 3 dozen rescued circus lions to be airlifted to new life in South Africa.

Nearly 3 dozen rescued circus lions to be airlifted to new life in South Africa.

Following years in abusive captivity, thirty-three lions rescued from Peru and Colombia will be airlifted to South Africa on Friday.

After years of starvation and mistreatment, these rescued big cats can now claim the lion’s share. 

One old male has just one eye, and many of his two dozen companions have broken teeth, or their claws have been removed.

After living in appalling conditions, the lions were rescued from Peruvian circuses in a series of surprise raids. 

Animal Defenders International is working with the Peruvian authorities to crack down on illegal wildlife trafficking.

“This is a hugely important rescue mission because it does make a statement around the world about the way people treat animals and about our relationship with the other species who share our planet,” Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International, said. “This is their planet too. They have the right to live here and the way they are treated by humans is incredibly bad. We need to change the way we treat other animals.” 

Airlifting and relocating these lions will cost tens of thousands of dollars per cat, according to the group. 

On Friday, a cargo aircraft will collect nine lions from Colombia, then pick up the other 24 from the Peruvian capital. 

Bound for Johannesburg, South Africa, the lions will take a long flight toward their freedom. Unable to survive in the wild, they’ll find a new beginning at a big cat sanctuary. 

In addition to the the king of beasts, Animal Defenders International also rescues bears, monkeys and birds.