Displaying items by tag: Lions
Washington, D.C., February 1, 2016 -- For the first time, wildlife conservationists have confirmed that lions are living in a remote national park in Ethiopia, following a recent expedition supported by Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation. The discovery was made after an expedition into the heart of Alatash National Park in northwest Ethiopia, on the Ethiopia-Sudan border, led by Dr. Hans Bauer, a renowned lion conservationist working for Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU). See the complete report here.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation, “The confirmation that lions persist in this area is exciting news. With lion numbers in steep decline across most of the African continent, the discovery of previously unconfirmed populations is hugely important—especially in Ethiopia, whose government is a significant conservation ally. We need to do all we can to protect these animals and the ecosystem on which they depend, along with all the other remaining lions across Africa, so we can reverse the declines and secure their future.”
In this groundbreaking discovery, Dr. Bauer and his team found original and undisputable evidence of lions in the region—successfully obtaining camera trap images of lions and identifying lion tracks. The team also concluded that lions were likely to exist in the larger, adjacent Dinder National Park across the border in Sudan.
Alatash is a huge region that very few people have visited. Though lions are thought to have been present there for centuries, and locals knew of their existence in the area, the international community was unaware. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) only considered Alatash a “possible range” for the species.
Dr. Bauer said, “Lions are definitely present in Alatash National Park and in Dinder National Park. Lion presence in Alatash has not previously been confirmed in meetings at the national or international level.”
“Considering the relative ease with which lion signs were observed, it is likely that they are resident throughout Alatash and Dinder. Due to limited surface water, prey densities are low and lion densities are likely to be low. We may conservatively assume a density in the range of one to two lions per 100 km2. On a total surface area of about 10,000 km2, this would mean a population of 100-200 lions for the entire ecosystem, of which 27-54 would be in Alatash,” he added.
The African lion is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, with a declining trend throughout most of its range. Lion numbers are estimated to have declined 50%-75% since 1980 and the species only occupies 8% of its historic range across the continent. Roberts adds, “Lions were thought to be locally extinct in Sudan, so the new findings are encouraging. Now that the expedition is complete, the next step is to communicate with the governments of Ethiopia and Sudan and look at the needs for conservation in the area so that this previously undiscovered lion stronghold can be protected.”
The discovery comes as Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation have just announced Born Free’s Year of the Lion 2016 initiative and the 50th anniversary of the iconic film, Born Free.
The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. The Foundation rescues animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and gives them lifetime care. Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles, and many more species in their natural habitats, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. The Foundation’s high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers, and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. More at www.bornfree.org.uk.
Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
Watch Jora and Black’s epic 10,500-mile journey from Bulgaria to South African sanctuary
Washington, D.C., January 20, 2016 – This week the Born Free Foundation has released a heartwarming video of two ex-circus lions who were successfully rescued from Bulgaria and now thriving in their new South African home.
Eight-year-old brothers Jora and Black made international headlines when they were rescued by Born Free from a beast wagon in Bulgaria more than three months ago.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of the Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA, “Thanks to generous public support, Born Free was able to transport Jora and Black 10,500 miles via the United Kingdom to their new life and forever home at the Shamwari Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Their story has a happy ending; no wild animal should suffer in unnatural, cruel captivity, and Born Free will save every one we can until wild animal circuses are a thing of the past.”
The seven minute video, made available for the first time this week, reveals how Born Free successfully rescued the lions, and shows the highly emotional moment the brothers were released from their traveling crates and stepped out onto African soil for the first time.
Born Free Foundation Projects Manager, Karen Pettman, said Jora and Black had settled into their new home quickly. “We are delighted that they have now adapted to their spacious home at Born Free’s Big Cat Rescue Centre on the Shamwari Game Reserve. Jora and Black clearly love being together and are very playful with each other. They are also becoming firm favorites with the center’s visitors, who they will often come out to say hello to, chasing each other along the edge of their enclosure.”
Taken in as small cubs, Jora and Black were originally part of a circus act touring Eastern Europe and Turkey. Following the Bulgarian government’s much-welcomed ban on the use of wild mammals in circuses, the lions were left to languish in a stifling beast wagon until the owners agreed to re-home them with Born Free. They will now be given lifetime care in their large, natural, and safe accommodation at the Born Free Jean Byrd Education and Rescue Centre in Shamwari.
The release of the video comes as Born Free declares 2016 the Year of the Lion to highlight the plight of lions worldwide and to mark the 50th anniversary of the motion picture Born Free, starring Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA co-founders Virginia McKenna and her late husband, Bill Travers as pioneering conservationists Joy and George Adamson, and their successful rehabilitation of Elsa the lioness to the wild. Screenings, activities, news, and events are planned throughout 2016.
The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. We rescue animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care. Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles, and many more species in their natural habitats, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. Our high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers, and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. For more information about Born Free, please visit www.bornfree.org.uk.
Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
Year of action and celebration will honor the 50th Anniversary of the film Born Free, and a significant portfolio of critical work to protect lions globally
Washington D.C./Horsham, West Sussex, January 4, 2016 -- On the 50th anniversary of the iconic, award-winning motion picture Born Free, the Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA have declared 2016 The Year of the Lion. The initiative was announced today by Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation, and co-founders of both organizations, Virginia McKenna OBE and Will Travers OBE, President.
Elsa the lioness captured the hearts and minds of a worldwide audience in the 1966 classic film Born Free, but today the international wildlife charity that bears its name sounds the alarm over the future of lions. The film starred legendary actress Virginia McKenna and her late husband Bill Travers portraying the pioneering conservationists George and Joy Adamson and their successful rehabilitation of Elsa to the wild.
According to Roberts, “Born Free’s Year of the Lion campaign is reflective of the film’s anniversary that started it all, as well as the fact that today the fight for the survival of lions in the wild has never been more urgent. Experts believe their numbers have plummeted to fewer than 20,000 across Africa, as their habitat dwindles and becomes more fragmented; horrific retaliatory killings are perpetrated; and lions by the hundreds are slaughtered each year by trophy hunters in the name of ‘sport.’ It is imperative that their plight is taken seriously, immediately. The species’ decline has been rapid and steep and without concerted action at all levels of government globally, the species could disappear from significant parts of Africa during our lifetime.”
Lions across West, Central and East Africa have declined by 60% or more over the past 20 years, and in West Africa they have been declared critically endangered. More than a dozen African countries are already thought to have lost their lion populations, and the international demand for lion bones and body parts is further exacerbating this downward spiral. From 2003-2012, over 24,000 lion specimens were declared to have been exported from 102 countries, including 19 lion range states -- countries where lions still roam naturally in the wild.
Across the globe, the public is more aware than ever about the need to save lions before it is too late. The slaying of Cecil the lion made headlines worldwide in 2015, and the recent documentary Blood Lions revealed the horrors of professional and canned hunting to audiences in over 100 countries. Many airlines have stopped shipping lion trophies; France and Australia have banned lion parts imports; and field conservation projects are underway across Africa to save this beleaguered species.
McKenna said, “There was a time, fifty years ago, when wild lion numbers were in excess of 100,000. Though aware of the challenges lions faced, even then, I could never have foreseen the devastation that was about to befall this iconic species. Filming Born Free was a life-changing experience. It taught us to understand and respect lions and their nature. We could never have imagined the impact the film would have, not only on our family but also on the many millions that watched it. It is unimaginable to contemplate the possible extinction of these extraordinary animals and we must do whatever is in our power to stop their further decline.”
In 2016, the spotlight will be on lions at the meeting of The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), convening in Johannesburg where, in September, more than 180 countries from around the world will debate, and possibly decide, the future level of protection afforded to lions. Born Free is calling for an end to commercial trade and an up-listing of African lions to CITES Appendix I (highest priority).
During Born Free’s Year of the Lion, the organization will also participate in a major scientific lion census in the heritage site of Meru, the heartland of George and Joy Adamson and Born Free, to establish how many lions remain in the area. Steeped in the history of wild lions and their conservation, Meru is still home to the descendants of Girl, Boy and Ugas, three of the lions featured in the Born Free movie.
According to Travers, “It is hoped that with Year of the Lion and the poignant anniversary of the much-loved film, people will again look at what is happening to this most majestic and iconic of wild animals. Lions are in our DNA. It is still within our grasp to reverse this devastating trend, but only if we wake up now and take action.”
There will be special screenings, events, news, and information online throughout 2016 to mark the 50thanniversary of the film.
President Barak Obama said “I think I may have teared up at the end (Born Free) when they release Elsa. I couldn’t have been more than four or five.”
Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation," the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
A Christmas Message From Tippi
Animal Defenders International (ADI) has today launched a new appeal and website to secure funds for the lifetime care of 33 lions rescued from travelling circuses in Colombia and Peru.The lions will be flown bya specially chartered Boeing 747 to a new life atEmoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo province, South Africa, where they will enjoy huge natural bush enclosures.
The lions have led such tragic lives that it is not possible to release them into the wild; almost all have been mutilated to remove their claws, one has lost an eye, another is almost blind, and many have smashed and broken teeth because of their circus life. The lions will have the next best thing to a life in the wild, home to Africa where they can retire in a safe, protected, natural habitat. Special African bush enclosures are being constructed, with a substantial financial commitment to the lions’lifetime care and veterinary needs.
People can meet each of the 33 lions on the website, from the ‘babies’ Mahla and Scarc tothe old boys Ricardo, Joseph, Leo, Junior and King at http://lionsbacktoafrica.org/. Discover their likes and dislikes, family ties and even blossoming romances! People can get directly involved in the record-breaking rescue by adopting lions $2,400, sponsoring travel crates $1,500, enclosures $6,000, and flight costs for lions $10,000.
Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer said, “These lions have all endured sad, painful lives, but the new laws in Peru and Colombia have set them free. Having saved them from the circus,they deserve to be taken back to their homeland and retire in peace.In the season of goodwill a wonderful future awaits these animals, forever under the African sun – everyone can get involved by donating at http://lionsbacktoafrica.org/”
The airlift in January will be the culmination of ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom, a year-long mission assistingthe governments of Peru and Colombia with enforcement of legislation prohibiting the use of wild animals in circuses.It has been the biggest rescue of its kind with nearly 100 animals saved and will culminate with the huge lion airlift to Africa.
ADI and Emoya are just waiting for the final green light, import permits from South African officials, and hope to move the lions in January. The flight will cost $335,000 and a further $300,000 will be needed to complete the large natural habitats at Emoya. The first phase of “bonding camps” at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary is nearly complete – this is where the lions will first be settled in, families get to be together again, some introductions to make new families and form prides. The next phase will see the habitats extended into the lifetime spaces.
The entire rescue is funded by public donations and last month award-winning Bond actor Sir Roger Moore appealed for help to give the lions “who have suffered so much” “the peace and sanctuary they need”.
Jan Creamer:“This is an animal rescue on a very large scale, because it is effectively multiple animal rescues all at once. That makes this an expensive process but it is also the most effective approach because over the course of a year we have completely eliminated the use of wild animals in circuses in Peru. Now we need people to help give these animals the retirement they deserve after years of suffering to entertain people – for the younger lions that could be more than 20 years of care.”
Find out more and donate at: http://lionsbacktoafrica.org/donate/
NAT GEO WILD’S 10 DAYS OF THANKSGIVING
The Holiday Harvest Features Big Cat Week,
a Thanksgiving Disneynature Marathon
and Yellowstone Like You’ve Never Seen It Before
Disneynature Marathon Premieres Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26, 1/12c
Big Cat Week Premieres Friday, Nov. 27, 9/8c
Wild Yellowstone Premieres Sunday, Dec. 6, 9/8c
(WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nov. 5, 2015) Nat Geo WILD’s Thanksgiving celebration is an epic lineup of animal adventures that will keep the whole family glued to the couch for 10 days straight. Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26, kicks things off at 1/12c with a best of Disneynature daylongmarathon, featuring heartwarming and inspiring films. Big Cat Week follows as the anchor event, featuring Cougars Undercover, a groundbreaking special that reveals the private life of a secret predator, premiering Friday, Nov. 27, at 9/8c. The week also features three straight nights of Safari Live, beaming the wilds of Africa directly into your living room in real time, premiering Friday, Nov. 27, at 11/10c. Wild Yellowstone, an award-winning two-hour spectacle, rounds out the WILD holiday with an innovative special that pushes the boundaries of wildlife filmmaking, offering audiences some of the park’s most spectacular views and intimate wildlife stories ever captured on film, premiering Sunday, Dec. 6, at 9/8c.
“For five years, Big Cat Week has delighted family audiences around the world, inspiring them to help these magnificent creatures,” said Geoff Daniels, general manager and executive vice president, Nat Geo WILD. “This year we are giving our viewers a special treat: 10 days celebrating the best of WILD including a one-of-a-kind interactive live safari experience, plus a feast of extraordinary and entertaining wildlife stories that take place from the depths of the oceans to the tops of our most majestic mountains.”
Premieres Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26, 1/12c
This Thanksgiving, travel the world from the comfort of your couch with four of Disneynature’s blockbuster wildlife feature films.
Deep Blue, network premiere
Premieres 1/12c and 8/7c
Take a fascinating voyage through awesome aquatic realms where humans have rarely dared to go. Waddle with playful penguins, ride the waves with massive whales, meet families of polar bears and seals and discover rare, alien like creatures.
Premieres 3/2c and 10/9c
Narrated by Tim Allen, this is a story of triumph and family bonds set in the African rainforest that follows an adorable young chimp with an entertaining approach to life.
The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos
Premieres 5/4c and 1:30a/12:30c
Narrated by Mariella Frostrup, this is a miraculous story set in the dramatic and desolate Lake Natron in northern Tanzania, where a million crimson-winged flamingos arrive to continue the circle of life.
Wings of Life
Premieres 6:30/5:30c and 12a/11c
Narrated by Meryl Streep,this isan intimate and unprecedented look at butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, bats and flowers.
BIG CAT WEEK
Premieres Friday, Nov. 27, 9/8c
This year’s Big Cat Week is our biggest event yet, with five new premieres and a live African safari beamed into your living room.
Premieres Friday, Nov. 27, 9/8c
This is the moving story of two mountain lion mothers raising their cubs, each trying to survive the harsh conditions of a bitter winter season outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Never-before-seen video captures the playful, intimate and sometimes tragic lives of these two families — part of a groundbreaking study by Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project. This is the most intense study of mountain lions ever conducted in the U.S., and the research raises some key questions. Are these cats the solitary hunters we previously thought? Why is their population dropping in the Rockies? The answers are fascinating and the stunning portrayal of the highs and lows of daily life will keep you glued to the story.
Premieres Friday, Nov. 27 – Sun, Nov. 29, 11/10c
Premieres Sat, Nov. 28 – Fri, Dec. 4, 9a/8c (two-hour morning specials)
Now there’s no passport required to go on the trip of a lifetime to see big cats up close and personal. We provide you with two expert guides who will lead the way to stunning wildlife, in real time. You can follow along with our online bingo game to win your very own African safari, and even reach out to the guides to ask questions via email and Twitter. All you need is an appetite for adventure and a love for our wild friends in the African bush. We’ll go deep into South Africa’s Sabi Sands Park and come face to face with the best of Africa’s wildlife, including lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo and many more.
The Lakeshore Killers
Premieres Saturday, Nov. 28, 9/8c
Deep in the heart of Africa, three male lions are coming into their prime with much to prove. They must forge strong bonds with a new pride and navigate the dangers of this unique wilderness, competing with hippos and crocodiles, to become true pride males and rulers of this land. We get a bird’s-eye view of their survival tactics, including adapting their hunting skills in surprising ways.
Premieres Sunday, Nov. 29, 9/8c
A special edition of the popular series Animal Fight Night, Cat Fight reveals the secret tactics of the animal kingdom’s most ferocious feline fighters and brings you closer than ever before to adrenaline-packed fights from Africa, the Americas and beyond. Watch lions fighting tooth and claw to protect their pride from outsiders, and tigers fighting for rights to a hunting ground. In Africa, the big cats of the savannah go head-to-head with their ultimate enemy — the hyena.
The Ultimate Predator
Premieres Sunday, Nov. 29, 10/9c
It is said that the lion is king of beasts, but is he alone? There are 41 species of cat — the embodiment of feline grace and power, spectacular top predators that command our respect. But who is The Ultimate Predator, the one to rule them all? They have a lot in common, including elegance, agility, strength, heightened senses, silent feet and the killer instinct. So which of them has what it takes to be a top cat — the giant tiger, the powerful jaguar, the speedy cheetah or the socialite lion? Tune in to find out and learn all about your favorite cats.
Big Cat Games
Premieres Wednesday, Dec. 2, 9/8c
Big Cat Games pits the world’s most ferocious land predators against each other in a series of trials that will determine once and for all who is king of the cats. Lions, cheetahs and tigers will be pushed to the limits of their natural athletic abilities. Our competitors go claw-to-claw in four events: the hunt, the jump, the seek and the catch. Overseeing the games is big cat specialist Boone Smith, who brings his expertise and insight to each event.
More than a television event, Big Cat Week is an extension of the Big Cats Initiative, a long-term commitment by the National Geographic Society to stop poaching, save habitat and sound the call that big steps are needed to save big cats around the world. This global initiative actively supports on-the-ground conservation projects and education to help stem and eventually reverse the rapid disappearance of big cat populations.
Premieres Sunday, Dec. 6, 9/8c (two-hour special)
From the producers of the award-winning and genre-defining documentary, “The Art of Flight,” Wild Yellowstone presents one of our country’s greatest national parks as it has never been seen before. After two years in the making, the filmmakers at Brain Farm apply their innovative action sports cinematography to the natural history genre, pushing boundaries with cutting-edge camera stabilization, drone, time-lapse and infrared technologies. The result is an all-access look at Yellowstone’s stunning animals and vistas. This is natural history 2.0.
Wild Yellowstone kicks off a cross-network celebration of the centennial of America’s national parks, which will continue on sister network National Geographic Channel with eight hours of premiere park programming throughout 2016.
Wild Yellowstone employs a contemporary shooting and editing style that combines the highest production values in blue-chip natural history with cutting-edge technology and a fresh, contemporary score. Cinematographers were encouraged to take the camera off the tripod and look for new and unexpected camera angles to reveal an immersive side of nature.
The Wild Yellowstone team camped out for a year capturing a cauldron of gripping animal dramas. The two-hour event includes a visit in summer and in freezing winter, an extraordinary world of fire and ice, ever changing and always testing its animal inhabitants.
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About Nat Geo WILD
For more than 30 years, National Geographic has been the leader in wildlife programming. The networks Nat Geo WILD and Nat Geo WILD HD, launched in 2010, offer intimate encounters with nature’s ferocious fighters and gentle creatures of land, sea and air that draw upon the cutting-edge work of the many explorers, filmmakers and scientists of the National Geographic Society. Part of the National Geographic Channels US, based in Washington, D.C., the networks are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. In 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) debuted, and 10 years later, Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation’s major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with Nat Geo WILD currently available in over 58 million U.S. homes. Globally, Nat Geo WILD is available in more than 120 million homes in 90 countries and 28 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeowild.com.
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Ex-circus lions complete epic 10,500-mile journey from Bulgaria to the UK to South African sanctuary
Washington D.C., September 28, 2015 -- The Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA have announced that Jora and Black, the two rescued ex-circus lions from Bulgaria, have completed an epic journey of more than 10,500 miles to begin new lives today in their ancestral home of Africa.
The two seven-year-old brothers were rescued by Born Free in July this year from a cramped metal beast wagon near Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, assisted by international animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS. Their horrific plight made international headlines.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation, "Every time we rescue an ill-treated wild animal, forced into unnatural, cruel captivity for years, it is truly a cause for celebration. The story of Jora and Black and their opportunity to live in peace in South Africa is an uplifting one; a testament to the hard work of so many dedicated people including Born Free staff, and an inspiration that drives us to save more animals in need wherever they sadly languish."
The lions were flown on Saturday from Bourgas airport to London Gatwick by Thomson Airways. Eagerly awaiting their arrival was the legendary actress and Born Free Foundation Co-Founder, Virginia McKenna OBE, who greeted Jora and Black airside. McKenna said, “It’s fantastic to see the animals have travelled so well. They still have a long way to go but I am really happy that with the generous public support we are able to offer them a wonderful new home with our friends at Shamwari Game Reserve. They deserve no less.”
Jora and Black then traveled by road in an approved quarantine vehicle to London Heathrow. The lions then commenced from Heathrow to Johannesburg. On arrival Sunday in South Africa they were transported by a convoy of Land Rover Discovery vehicles and trailers to their new home at the Born Free Jean Byrd Education and Rescue Centre, at the award-winning Shamwari Game Reserve, just outside of Port Elizabeth, where they were released into a spacious, safe and enriching natural accommodation, surrounded by the sights and sounds of Africa. Upon release, the brothers greeted each other fondly after exploring the bush for a couple of minutes. They will be enjoying their first meal together at Shamwari this afternoon.
Taken in as small cubs, Jora and Black were originally part of a circus act touring Eastern Europe and Turkey. Following the Bulgarian government’s much-welcomed ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, the lions were left to languish in a stifling beast wagon since the summer of 2014, until their owners agreed to re-home them with Born Free.
With Jora and Black every step of the way was Shamwari Group Head of Wildlife and Veterinarian, Dr Johan Joubert, and Born Free’s Big Cat Expert, Tony Wiles. Speaking in transit, Wiles said, “The lions are doing really well and we are very happy with their progress. They are travelling well in their crates and we are keeping a close eye on them throughout the journey, with regular health checks and water stops.”
Shamwari, meaning “my friend” in Shona, is the pinnacle of private game reserves. Stretching 25,000 hectares over a malaria free landscape, it is one of the largest private conservation initiatives in Southern Africa.
The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. The Foundation rescues animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care. Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and many more species in their natural habitat, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. The Foundation’s high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. More at www.bornfree.org.uk.
Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation” — the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film “Born Free,” along with their son Will Travers. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org; www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
Dream ending for circus lions rescued in South America:
Huge airlift to take 33 lions home to Africa
September 1, 2015 - Thirty-three lions rescued by Animal Defenders International (ADI) from ten circuses in Peru and Colombia are going home to their native Africa in the biggest ever airlift of its kind.
The lions, who endured years of confinement in cages on the backs of trucks and a brutal life being forced to perform in circuses, are heading to huge natural enclosures at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa.
The airlift in October will be the culmination of ADI’s work with the Governments of Peru and Colombia to eliminate the use of wild animals in circuses. ADI evidence of the abuse of circus animals in Latin America led to legislation banning animal acts and then ADI stepped in to help enforce the laws.
Almost all of the rescued lions have been mutilated to remove their claws, one has lost an eye, another is almost blind, and many have smashed and broken teeth because of their circus life, but they will retire in the African sunshine.
Jan Creamer, ADI President, who is leading the rescue mission in Peru, said: “We are delighted that these lions who have suffered so much will be going home to Africa where they belong. The climate and environment are perfect for them. When we visited Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary we knew this is a dream come true for ADI and, more importantly, the lions.”
ADI’s year-long Operation Spirit of Freedom, working with the Peru Government SERFOR and ATFFS wildlife departments, as well as police, has seen ADI raid circuses all over the country, facing violent confrontations, rescuing over 90 animals, travelling thousands of miles, and traversing the Andes with lions.
Nine ex-circus lions from Colombia will join 24 lions from Peru on the flight to South Africa. They are the first animals to be handed over following Colombia’s ban on wild animal circuses and taken into care by the CDMB regional wildlife authority in Bucaramanga. ADI assumed the lions’ care until the flight was finalized.
Home for the lions will be Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary set in 5,000 hectares on a private estate in Limpopo Province, South Africa. The sanctuary is already home to eight rescued lions and tigers in large acreage habitats of pristine African bush, has a no breeding policy and is not open to the public.
Savannah Heuser, founder of Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary says: “Mahatma Gandhi once said; 'Be the change that you wish to see in the world.' The change that is being offered to these 33 lions will change their entire world.
Their lives were forcibly wasted away in horrific tiny cages, the doing of mindless circus acts, I cannot start to comprehend the endless days suffering that these animals had to endure. They have a lot of lost time to make up for. They will live out the rest of their lives in a natural habitat, the closest they can ever come to freedom.”
ADI is chartering a Boeing 747 to transport all 33 lions with an ADI veterinary team, direct from Lima to Johannesburg and is funding the construction of habitats for the lions at Emoya, ready for the arrival of the lions in late October.
Over ninety animals have been rescued during the ADI operation, which also provided assistance to the Peruvian authorities on the issue of wildlife crime. ADI is concluding a huge construction program for over 50 native wild animals rescued during the operation in two parts of the Amazon, including bears, six species of monkeys, coati mundis, kinkajous, and a puma.
Jan Creamer paid tribute to governments, wildlife officials and the public in Peru and Colombia: “Seeing these lions go home to where they truly belong will be a testament to the commitment of wildlife officials and the governments in Peru and Colombia to change the treatment of animals.”
Peru’s wild animal circus ban was passed in 2011, and between August 2014 and July 2015, the ADI team identified and raided every circus with wild animals. Some circuses went underground as the raids commenced, but were eventually caught. Only one circus reported to have a lioness is still to be found, which was pursued into Ecuador by the ADI team in July this year. Wildlife officials and the local ADI team are on alert should the circus reappear.
ADI previously enforced Bolivia’s animal circus ban, relocating many animals within the country and taking 29 lions to two sanctuaries in the US, and a baboon to the UK. ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom in Peru and Colombia has been an even larger undertaking.
Savannah Heuser: “We at Emoya are deeply honored and privileged to be part of such a massive operation. We salute ADI for saving animals and ending suffering. Let's bring these 33 to Africa. Let's bring them home.”
Moving the lions to Africa increases the flight costs, but it is the ideal home for the animals and ADI believes, the right thing to do. An appeal has been launched to meet the increased flight costs as well as the enclosures for the lions.
Jan Creamer: “We really need financial support for this move. It is more expensive to relocate these animals to Africa, but who can put a price on taking them home to where they belong? It also sends such a clear and important message about protecting wildlife in their natural habitats and ranges.”
Until their flight, planned for end October, the lions will remain at the ADI Spirit of Freedom Rescue Center near Lima, Peru, where they will continue their rehabilitation under ADI veterinary supervision and enjoying their with grassy play pens, but the best is yet to come!
Please donate now to help get the lions home www.ad-international.org/hometoafrica