Kimba, an elderly lion made history last week as the final lion to be rescued in Bolivia after the country banned the use of live animals in circuses.
A record-breaking 25 lions have been saved by Animal Defenders International since November and a total of 29 lions have been rescued overall.
ADI was instrumental in helping Bolivia implement the first-ever nationwide ban on the use of live animals in circuses. The law came about after ADI exposed the terrible abuse circus animals endured in the country and throughout South America.
It is now ADI’s mission “to empty Bolivia of every circus animal in the country.” All of the lions will be given a new life at The Wild Animal Sanctuary near Denver, Colorado.
ADI will be transporting all of the animals through a project they have named Operation Lion Ark. In the past few weeks Lion Ark has gained support from celebrities such as Bob Barker, Jorja Fox, Brian Blessed, Twiggy and others.
ADI President Jan Creamer has been personally overseeing the rescue and rehabilitation of the lions. You can read about their rescue and the progress they are making in her daily Rescue Diaries.
Here is Kimba’s Story:
“Kimba had been living in a small concrete zoo enclosure for the past 11 years after being dumped there by a travelling circus.
In recent weeks, ADI and the Bolivian authorities have swooped on circuses all over Bolivia and confiscated all of their animals. Indigenous or domestic animals have been homed in Bolivia, and ADI is taking care of all the lions – now numbering 25. Bolivia’s DGB had requested ADI take the old lion.
On Friday, ADI flew down to Tarija in a C130 Hercules that had seen service in the Vietnam War. They took one of the crates that had already been prepared for the Operation Lion Ark airlift later this month.
At the zoo, the ADI team had to break down a wall and cut through metal railings to get to Kimba, but he was soon lured into the travel crate by ADI President Jan Creamer.
He was then driven to the airport, with members of the Tarija public applauding on the roadside, and loaded onto the TAB cargo aircraft. It was a smooth hour flight back to Santa Cruz, during which Kimba was very relaxed and showed no signs of stress, before a slow drive to the ADI Operation Lion Ark compound.
The ADI team, including a veterinarian, joined Kimba on the flight and were able to monitor him throughout.
In the ADI compound Kimba saw and heard other lions for the first time, he went straight into his new holding cage and had a meal before calling to the other lions.”
Animal Defenders International