In the recent times, when animal cruelty has become punishable, more and more animal lovers are voicing their opinions and raising their voices against the perpetrators. One such example is the recent shifting of thirty three lions from circuses in Peru and Columbia to a sanctuary in South Africa.
The governments of Peru and Columbia passed a rule in 2011 and 2013 respectively that animals should not be used in the circus unless they are the regular domesticated animals. Following this, they had to gather all the animals from the circuses to be shifted to their new habitats.
When pondering over the right place to shift them, it was considered best to shift them to a wild life sanctuary as a zoo was still the wrong way to protect them because the zoo does not provide the animals with a natural environment. They could also not leave these animals in the wild as they were not born in the wild. They were bred in captivity and hence did not know how to hunt for food.
Once it was decided that they should be released into a sanctuary, they singled down one sanctuary in South Africa – the Emoya Big Cat sanctuary which is present north of Johannesburg. As these lions have been in cages all their lives, they need to be slowly exposed to the wide open spaces. They also need time to familiarize themselves with the environment and with each other.
Animal Defenders International, a U.S. based animal rescue group, took the responsibility of transferring these animals to their new habitat. The entire process was tedious and took two days. First they had to get all the animals in their cages to one place from where they could be transported by air to South Africa. They picked 24 lions from Peru and 9 from Columbia. They were quite surprised to see these animals calm throughout the journey, probably because the travelling circus life was something these lions were used to.
The lions underwent a health examination and it was noted that most of these animals had their teeth and claws removed by the circus people. It was quite painful to see these majestic animals in such a bad state. They were then released into the enclosures. Most of the lions were hesitant to leave their cages as they were not used to the open areas but soon, they were seen enjoying the new found freedom.
A lot of countries are now moving towards banning the usage of wild animals in circuses. This is a welcome move, bringing a lot of hope for all animal lovers. A small note to all the animal lovers out there. If you want to see animals, please don’t visit the circus or those zoos where the animals are caged. Visit sanctuaries and safaris instead so that you can witness these animals in full glory.