2018 New You Beauty Awards - Powered by OmegaXL

Lions Rescued from the Circus

By Sydney Cook
Posted On May 04, 2016
Lions Rescued from the Circus


33 lions were rescued from circuses in Peru and Colombia.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary worked together for several months to bring the lions to South Africa. After a long four-day journey, the lions finally arrived at OR Tambo Airport and were transferred to a truck which drove them to the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Vaalwater, Limpopo.

Upon arrival, a veterinarian took an overall look at the lions and assessed their stress levels and superficial wounds. 24 of the lions were from Peru and had been removed from the circus for a year. However, the other nine, from Colombia, still struggle with anxiety because of their recent removal from the circus and entrance into a government facility.

Savanna Heuser, the spokeswoman for Emoya, told IOL, “They haven’t had any positive experience or interactions with humans, so they are showing a little more aggression.”

Some of the older lions have sight problems and have been provided with “special needs” enclosures, keeping them away from anything that could harm them. Those with cataracts will undergo a removal procedure to help them regain eyesight.

As a part of the adaptation phase, the lions would be placed into bonding camps. ADI president Jan Cremer said, “Families will be reintroduced to one another and become familiarized with their new home” and others “will be introduced to see whether they would form a family.” The second phase includes constructing trees, platforms, and watering holes in a 2.5 to 5-acre habitat to replicate their natural territory.

With the help of ADI and Emoya, the rescued Panthera Leos have the potential to fully adapt in about six months.

We’re rooting for you Simba!

Cover/Feature Photo Credit: Shutterstock