The animals had been captive in illegal zoos in Peru and Colombia, but were rescued by the associationAnimal Defenders International (ADI).ADIorganised the 18-month rescue mission, one of the most ambitious operations of its kind, namedthe "Spirit of Freedom Flight".It was the largest animal rescue airlift in history.
In 2010 and2013 respectively, Peru and Colombia passed a law forbidding the use of wildlife in the circus. But many illegal circuses have still been in operation, which is whyAnimal Defenders International had to step in.With the help of the police, they managed to force several illegal circuses to give up their captive lions.
In their rehabilitation process, the felines will gradually be given more and more freedom in natural bush habitats.Since they have lived in separate cages all their lives, they will be kept apart at first and then slowly introduced to one another in a bonding enclosure before being able to roam in the giant enclosure where they can peacefully retire.Jan Creamer announced:
The lion habitats will be steadily expanded over the coming months as the lions become familiar with their new life and are introduced to each other.
But it's the photos of their arrival in their new home which are so moving. Below is a photo of one of the first lions to arrive who immediately rubbed against a tree"for the first time in his life", according toAnimal Defenders International.
Watch some emotional footage of their rescue here:[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9eLU-tLOm8[/embed]To help give these beautiful creatures lifelong care in their new home, you can make a donation to Lions Back To Africa.