Animal Defenders International’s effort to return 33 rescued lions to a “forever home” at a sanctuary in Africa marks the largest airlift of its kind. ADI worked for years with the governments of Peru and Columbia to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.
ADI's president Jan Creamer lead the rescue mission in Peru.
“This large-scale animal rescue will have a lasting impact,” says Creamer. “After such sad, painful lives, new laws in Peru and Colombia have set these animals and others, free.”
According to the Oakland Zoo, almost all of the rescued lions have been de-clawed. Many have smashed and broken teeth as well. After it was contacted by ADI for any help the zoo could offer, the Oakland Zoo pledged $10,000 to aid in the rescue effort. It hopes to collect more donations to support the lions' flight to the South African sanctuary.
Colleen Kinzley, director of Animal Care at the Oakland Zoo, says they’re excited to support ADI in this effort.
“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,” says Kinzley.A fund titled “Operation Spirit Freedom” was started by the Oakland Zoo to collect additional donations. $10,000 per lion, a total of $330,000 is needed for transportation costs.