Imagine setting foot on African soil and breathing in your birth right as The King of the Jungle for the first time after a life of slavery and torture. Their new life may not mean total freedom, but thanks to Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, the thirty-three lions that was rescued from circuses now have an ideal haven and a chance to experience the kind and caring side of humanity.
These magnificent animals have been in captivity, living in tiny cages with little food and care. Their teeth have been smashed; their toes have been cut off to stop their claws from growing, and they have been “trained” through beatings to perform for human entertainment and amusement.
Rescued from horrendous conditions in Peru and Colombia by ADI, the #33lions boarded the ADI Spirit of Freedom Flight on 29 April 2016 to be transported to their new forever home at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Vaalwater, Limpopo, South Africa. It was a huge operation from beginning to end, and the airlift, the biggest ever of its kind. The South American circus nightmare is over as 33 lions wake up to an African dawn.
ABOUT EMOYA BIG CAT SANCTUARY
Vaalwater lies on the southern-edge of the UNESCO Waterberg biosphere reserve which includes mountainous regions, tropical grasslands and savannas, forests, river gorges and cliff caves. Also home to the region is a variety of indigenous mammals like lion, buffalo, giraffe and white rhino.
Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary is set in 5,000 hectares on a private estate and is also home to 8 other rescued lions and tigers. The Sanctuary has a no-breeding policy and female lions receive contraceptive medication so that they can remain with their mates. Males may also undergo vasectomies to make 100% sure that no lions are bred in captivity. The Sanctuary is not open to the public, providing the rescued lions with the peaceful retirement they deserve. More about Emoya.
NEW HOME, NEW LIFE
No more tricks and no more performances; from now on these lions only have to entertain themselves.
With such a radical change in their living situation the lions will initially live in “bonding camps” while they become familiar with their new environment, and where families will be reintroduced. After several months in their bonding camps, where their health and well-being can be checked by staff and vets, the 33 rescued African lions will live out their lives under the African sun in huge natural enclosures, complete with drinking pools, platforms and toys.
When compassionate people team up and put in such tremendous effort to rectify the injustice, we are grateful and have hope, not only for these animals, but also for our own species.
ADI and Emoya are committed to these animals for life. While in their bonding camps they will receive veterinary care, toys and straw bales for amusement and they will always have food and clean water. You can help by:
- Making a donation
- Supporting animal-free circuses
- Starting a collection or fundraiser
- Joining the Bahati Volunteer Programme