Lions are the kings of the jungle – proud, majestic beasts with unparalleled hunting abilities. In the wild, they rule over fiercely defended territories which can span over 100 square miles of grass and woodlands. Putting a creature that instinctively needs that much space to roam over into a tiny cage is, understandably, very unpleasant. Yet, due to the demand for lions at circuses and other sideshows, there are an unfortunate number of lions suffering in captivity – just to satisfy our selfish desire for entertainment.
Thankfully, there are organizations like Animal Defenders International, which recently managed to rescue 33 lions from illegal circuses throughout Peru and Colombia. After they were rescued, the lions were transported to the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. This was the largest operation of its kind to date.
These lions had all been trapped in tiny cages, forced to perform, and badly mistreated. Many of them required medical attention, and most of them were underfed. Several of the lions had never even experienced grass under their feet or felt the warmth of the sun on their faces. These may seem like trivial pleasures, but as you’ll see, there’s just nothing quite like that first taste of freedom.
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