Last week, 33 lions were freed from a life of captivity in South America to peacefully live out the rest of their days in the savannahs of South Africa. The lions were rescued from illegal circuses in Colombia and Peru in what is being called the most ambitious rescue Animal Defenders International(ADI) has ever organized

ADI called the mission 'Operation Spirit of Freedom' and it's giving the lions a chance to enjoy a new beginning at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuaryin South Africa after spending years in tiny circus cages


According to ADI, it took over a year to free all of them. Some illegal circuses in Peru even went into hiding to avoid giving up their lions. Flying a lion across the world isn't cheap; it cost ADI $10,000 to transport each lion, but with the help of donations from all over the world, every last one of them was safely transported to their new home

33 Lions

33 Lions

Before their rescue, these lions had never felt the sun over their heads or the grass beneath their feet, and even though they're finally getting a taste of freedom, they'll still never get to hunt and feed like normal wild lions—most of them have had their teeth broken and their claws removed

33 Lions

33 Lions

Please consider donating hereto help Emoya give these lions the retirement they deserve. You can also support ADIand help them continue saving the lives of countless animals living in cruel captivity

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