The journey was long and complex, but the 33 circus lions rescued from South America, have arrived at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa.
From years living in circus cages to this, it’s their first taste of freedom, the first time they feel grass, the first time they rub against a tree, and the first time they roar purely for pleasure and not to entertain.
Yes, this is a feel good story and there will be segments of the conservation community who will question the cost of saving this group of lions versus dedicating the money to long term sustainability projects. Their arguments will be well reasoned and based on practical cost/benefit equations. But, those arguments and equations will miss the point. This group of 33 has garnered extensive publicity and their adventure has widely disseminated information regarding the plight of lions in the wild and captive lions being used for public entertainment. How do you quantify the impact of the 33 on the public consciousness?
These lions will never be free in the sense that their wild relatives live free. But, they will live in freedom from abuse and cruelty. They won’t live in cages and be prodded into performing or beaten into submission for failing to do so.
The lions will never be able to catch their own game, as many have fractured teeth and missing claws. But these brave old warriors will at least live out the rest of the natural lives in the land that should have been their home.
At Just Save One, we believe that the 33 will not only live out their lives in safety, free from want and abuse, but their story will inspire people to do what they can to help save the lions of the world.
You can help the 33 here.
Or, you can volunteer your time at Emoya. I highly recommend a trip to South Africa.