Facebook groups, animal rights activists, a zoo, wildlife photographers and celebrities getting ex-circus lions home to Africa

Over the past 18 months Animal Defenders International (ADI) has been assisting the Government of Peru with enforcement of their wild animal circus ban. Over 100 animals have been saved from entertainment and the illegal wildlife trade including more than 30 lions, bears, a tiger, mountain lion, birds and dozens of monkeys.

Next month, ADI will charter a huge cargo aircraft and fly the lions home to Africa. The lions have led such tragic lives that it is not possible to release them into the wild; almost all have suffered from having their front toes cut off to remove their claws and many have had their teeth smashed. The lions will be taken care of at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa.

The airlift, the biggest of its kind ever, will cost $10,000 for each lion.

Donate today – for just $100 / £70 you can sign up for the “People’s Lion Ticket” and have you name alongside 99 others on a travel crate.


You will be in good company. James Bond actor Roger Moore is behind the mission, fronting an appeal for help, model Twiggy has donated and US TV legend Bob Barker’s DJ&T Foundation helped kick-start the search and rescue mission with a contribution.

California’s Oakland Zoo, which has long campaigned against wild animals in circuses, immediately pledged $10,000 for one lion’s airfare and hopes to raise enough in the Bay Area to help more lions. Colleen Kinzley, Director of Animal Care, Conservation & Research at Oakland Zoo said “We are so excited to support ADI in the transport of thirty-three rescued lions to sanctuary in Africa. Having spent their lives in terrible captive conditions, forced to perform, abused, and neglected they will finally have the opportunity to live out their lives with peace and dignity.”

Facebook Group Lion Lovers has also raised the airfare to get a lion home, its 7,500 members following each stage of the rescue and continuing to donate as each lion was saved, adopting Cusco Rey. Over a dozen top wildlife photographers also offered images for auction to help the lions home. Diane Miller from Florida, who runs the facebook group said: “I actually flew to Peru in October and got to meet Jan and the ADI crew, and all the lions including Rey. It was an amazing experience, one I will never forget. So proud to be associated with this amazing organization, they are focused and get the job done!”

Two crowdfunding sites have also taken up the cause: LoveAnimals.org and The Animal Rescue Site on GreaterGood.com, who are seeking to raise $10,000 to fly Leo, one of the oldest lions, the 6,900 miles from Peru to Africa.

ADI President Jan Creamer said, “After such sad, desperate lives, these lions deserve to live in peace under the African sun. It is a huge challenge, so we need all the support we can get – each lion’s ticket is $10,000 so there is room for everyone to pitch in and help get a lion home.”


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