Devastating news about two of our rescued lions

Everyone at Animal Defenders International and Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary is heartbroken and devastated that two ADI family members, two of our rescued lions, have been murdered in an evil attack on Emoya in South Africa.

Ex-circus lions and best friends, José and Liso were relocated from South America last year along with thirty others – the conclusion of ten years of work for ADI, following the sad lives of these animals, campaigning for them and finally their rescue, which brought them home to their native environment, where they blossomed, growing in health and strength.

This cowardly killing of two innocent souls, sweet, elderly lions, one of whom had suffered brain damage from blows to the head in the circus, must not be left unpunished. The crime is currently being investigated by South Africa’s police and anti-poaching units.

An ADI team including President Jan Creamer, is flying to South Africa to speak with the authorities to see what ADI can do to help bring the perpetrators to justice. We are keeping all options on the table until we speak with the police and anti-poaching units, including investigations and the offer of a substantial reward for information leading to convictions; we will be taking advice on the best measures.

The safety of the remaining lions is our top priority. ADI and Emoya are reviewing all security measures; armed guards are in place and a range of additional security measures are being evaluated, including, if appropriate, evacuation of the lions whilst these are implemented.

Information is still being gathered and we will not update further until we have spoken with the police and Emoya.



On Sunday, March 5, 7:00pm ET/PT – CBS 60 Minutes will air ADI’s dramatic rescue of 33 circus lions from Peru and Colombia back to their native Africa.

60 Minutes traveled to Peru to meet the lions and will show exclusive on the ground footage from the ADI rescue center in Peru, as the lions are loaded into their travel crates and prepare for their flight home to Africa. You will get to meet some of the animals at the rescue center and 60 Minutes sits down to talk with the rescuers, ADI President Jan Creamer and Vice President Tim Phillips, about the work that went into this massive, complex rescue operation. Watch the trailer here!

ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom is the biggest operation of its kind, collaborating with Peru authorities to enforce its law banning wild animal circuses and raiding circuses all over the country. As part of its ongoing mission, ADI saved 109 animals from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade in Peru, with the final bear taken back to the forest just last week.

ADI President Jan Creamer said, “Viewers will be thrilled by 60 Minutes exclusive look as rescuers race against the clock to carefully load our precious cargo of 33 rescued lions for their long journey home to Africa where freedom roars. Circuses across Peru were raided and animals saved from suffering in circuses. Thanks to determined wildlife officials and public support, we’ve been able to save over 100 animals. Now we are asking people to help us build the lions’ forever homes.”

Donate now with a one-time donation, or you can also set up a monthly donation to help support the animals rescued during Operation Spirit of Freedom.

Saved from a circus in South America. Safe in the African bush, forever.

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ADI President Jan Creamer reports from South Africa.

We have hardly been able to contain our emotion as our lively boy band Rolex, Chino and Coco bounded out into their natural bush habitat. Seeing them run and explore their forever home was extra special, as I remember vividly that day in Peru as we lured them from their circus cages into the ADI holding units. We began a journey that has taken them all the way home.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us transform the lives of these lions.

This is our third group of animals to be released into the large bush habitats ADI is building at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary. Leo and his pride (Muñeca, Africa and Kiara) are loving life in the bush. So too, are José and Liso, who remain inseparable, but have room to run.

Work has begun on construction of the forever home for the animals we rescued from Circo Monaco in Cusco – Rey, Smith, Kiara, Amazonas, Mahla and Scarc. It took two raids, riot police and SWAT teams to set them free.

Now, we must complete the task. We saved them from hell, mended their bodies and minds in our temporary rescue centre, flew them back to their homeland to safety. Now they need their forever home. Your donation today could put Rey’s Pride in the African bush for the rest of their lives.

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The scale of ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom is staggering:

  • Phase one was the mission to track down and raid every circus and save all of the animals.
  • Phase two was the airlift to their native homeland.
  • Phase three has seen ADI constructing permanent homes for these animals: lions, bears, monkeys, kinkajous, coatis, and a mountain lion. All back in their natural habitats where they are receiving lifetime care and protection.

ADI continues to fund the care, veterinary treatment, and feeding of almost all of the animals rescued in Peru and Colombia. So we need your help to give them the lifelong peace they deserve.

Please help by organising a fundraising event or effort, asking your friends, family and colleagues to help, and donate today.

  • The cost of care staff, enrichment, food and supplements is $12,000 (£9,500) per month – ($12.50/£10 per lion per day)
  • The cost of veterinary care is averaging $1,000-$2,000 (£800-£1,600) per month – the animals have come from terrible conditions and so have lot of problems to address.

Yours for the animals,

Jan Creamer