Right now a TAB Airlines flight is in the air with 25 rescued circus lions, headed from their life of drudgery in Bolivia to one of luxury in a Colorado sanctuary. The all-lion flight of the Bolivian cargo airline is set to touch down at 2 p.m.
Animal Defenders International is running the rescue since they were the ones that lead a campaign to get animals banned as “entertainment” in Latin America. Ironically, of course, animals are still forced to put on a show in U.S. circuses.
But these Bolivian lions will live in four pens at The Wild Animal Sanctuary just northeast of Denver. It will be the most natural and caring setting they’ve ever seen. They’ll stay indoors for the first couple months to get used to the weather. It’s forecast to be 66 in Denver today, but that’s a warm spell; it’ll down to 32 tonight. That’s not too different from La Paz, where it’s 56 and going down to 38 tonight.
But the lions—need time to adjust to the weather, their new home and their new prides. ADI has been raiding decrepit zoos and sideshows, scooping up lions left and right for the airlift. Just last week they rescued one–elderly Kimba lived in a tiny concrete zoo pen for 11 years, after being dumped by a travelling circus. ”He’s had a sad lonely life and really deserved a break, so he is the perfect lion to be number 25 – the last lion to be saved during this huge seizure operation,” says ADI’s Jan Cramer.
Later this year, visitors will be able to see them–and the other rescued animals–at The Wild Animal Sanctuary.
Where to Go See Big Cats
Help Animal Defenders International’s Save the Lions Appeal
Check out Animal Defenders International
Where to See Animals Out West