Leo and his family were rescued by Animal Defenders International from a circus in Peru and relocated, along with 26 others, to their native land and forever home at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo province, South Africa.
Following dental surgery to repair his smashed and broken teeth after years of abuse in the circus, Leo was returned to his room next to his daughter Africa in the ADI-Emoya bonding camps. The camps allow the lions to reach each other and reaffirm family bonds or form new friendships, adapt to their environment and get ready to move into their huge natural bush enclosures.
Watch the video:
Groggy with anaesthesia, Leo stumbles and Africa rushes to the fence and seems to urge him as he tries to get to her, even reaching through the fence. Once Leo reaches her, they nuzzle and he settles beside her for a few minutes, but soon recovers and back on his feet as if nothing had happened.
Jan Creamer, President of ADI: “The video shows the strength of the family bond in a lion pride. We are in the process of reuniting this pride which we rescued in separate raids on circuses in Peru and soon they will be released into an enclosure of acres of African bush.”
Leading veterinary dentist Dr Gerhard Steenkamp of ‘Saving the Survivors’ performed many hours of surgery on the six most serious cases and wildlife expert Dr Peter Caldwell performed sterilisations and eye examinations as many of the lions have sight problems.
Leo was separated from his mate Muñeca and daughters Africa and Kiara after the circus escaped. ADI tracked them down and eight months later saved the lionesses, who are now being reunited with Leo in South Africa.
Please help us complete the large, circular natural habitats that will be home for life for these lions. Separate habitats are being created for each family group, or groups of friends, including specially-designed enclosures for the ‘special needs’ animals with sight problems, arthritis and other ailments.