Ringling Bros. circus closure – a good day for animals

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Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus has announced that the circus will close in May, citing declining ticket sales; this follows an earlier announcement that there had been a ‘mood shift’ among their consumers about the use of animals in circuses.

This is welcome news. For over twenty years, ADI has published evidence exposing the cramped, barren conditions in which these animals live, with long periods of time tied up and chained with no freedom of movement along with a brutal training culture. Our years of investigations, detailed reports on the scientific evidence and economic arguments and exposing behind-the-scenes brutality has made a difference. This evidence has been a catalyst for action. And public opinion made this happen.

Our thanks to everyone who has given out a leaflet, carried a placard, written a letter, testified, educated friends, family and colleagues, stood outside a circus and informed audiences. You made a difference.

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Today’s audiences have many entertainment choices and do not want to see shows where animals are forced to perform and live in, effectively, barren boxes on wheels. Hence the growing popularity of human-only performance shows.

Ringling Bros. made the wrong call by not moving with the times. Although they dropped their elephant acts last year, they continued to misunderstand their audience. The trend away from animal acts includes other animals such as lions and tigers. Circus shows without animals are not only surviving, they are increasingly popular.

This is a business decision, the animals remain the property of Ringling Bros., and they will decide their fate. ADI strongly urges the Feld family to reflect public opinion and allow their ex-circus animals to be taken to good sanctuaries. Let them live out their lives with no call on them to be an exhibit or perform in any way. Let them enjoy the freedom they lost when their forebears were captured.

When the use of animals is ended through national legislation and it becomes illegal for touring shows to have the animals, ADI is happy to assist officials with finding homes and we have relocated approaching 200 animals around the world. The animal protection charities in the US have the resources to manage this task, should Congress act.

Worldwide, 34 countries have looked at the evidence and taken national action to end performing animal shows for reasons of both animal welfare and public safety, with others considering action.

Keeping large, stressed animals in lightweight, mobile facilities is clearly unsafe. The nature of constantly-moving shows is problematic for officials. USDA Inspector General reports describe the difficulties with follow-through on findings of inspections and regulatory enforcement for shows which are constantly on the move.

These concerns have prompted action in the US Congress and Representatives Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) plan to introduce the Traveling Exotic Animal Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA), to end the use of animals in these unsafe mobile shows.

ADI will be encouraging the public to support this proportionate and reasonable approach to dealing with such animal welfare and public safety risks. Already, 66 local jurisdictions across 27 states in the US have barred animal circuses from towns and cities, while several states are considering similar legislation. The will is there.

This is an issue whose time has come.J.

More on the Ringling Bros. decision http://bit.ly/2iz4KgC

More on ADI’s campaign to end circus suffering http://bit.ly/29BldiH

Lion Ark in Johannesburg and Cape Town for CITES Conference

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Delighted that the multi-award winning action-documentary Lion Ark – the story of the dramatic rescue and relocation of 25 lions from circuses in Bolivia will premiere in South Africa later this month, during the CITES Conference (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). We will be there to work for more protection for lions, elephants, rhinos and others.

Winning multiple awards on the international film festival circuit, critics describe Lion Ark, “the feel-good movie of the year!” (Reel Talk); “One of your must –see films” (The Independent Critic); “A consciousness-raising milestone of a documentary” (The Ecologist); “Lion Ark proceeds with refreshing unpredictability” (The New York Times);” …this film should be a target for this year’s Oscars. Excellent” (ACED Magazine).

Lion Ark tells the story of an ambitious rescue: Animal Defenders International secures a ban on animal circuses in Bolivia following a two-year undercover investigation across South America. Now the law must be enforced. Across vast, hostile terrains the illegal circuses are tracked down, the animals saved, brought to safety and a joyous finale sees 25 lions airlifted to freedom.

More action adventure style than traditional documentary, Lion Ark places the audience right in the thick of the action, up close and personal with the animals and their rescuers. Through real-life action, interviews, conversations and reactions as events unfold, it is a visceral experience feeling the fear and joy of the rescuers as they journey through their incredible mission to save every animal.

CAPE TOWN:
WHEN: Thursday 29th September 2016 – 6pm
WHERE: The Labia Theatre, 68 Orange Street Gardens, 80001, Cape Town
TICKETS: http://www.lionarkthemovie.com/screenings/ or call +27 (0) 021 424 5927

JOHANNESBURG:
WHEN: Sat 1st October 2016 – 5pm
WHERE: Ster-Kinekor Nouveau Theatre, Rosebank 50 Bath Avenue, Rosebank, Gauteng
TICKETS: http://www.lionarkthemovie.com/screenings/

I look forward to attending the screenings with Lion Ark Director Tim Phillips; we will follow the film with a Q&A and then show an exclusive preview of the trailer for the new production about the latest Spirit of Freedom operation – over 100 animals saved from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade in South America. All the rescues were built homes in their natural habitats, except Hoover the tiger, who now resides at Big Cat Rescue in Florida – he enjoys his pool.

Perfect to bring this to South Africa now – good for people to see the generational damage inflicted on these animals when they are taken from the wild and used in entertainment. After Lion Ark screenings, I am often told by people that they would never have imagined they could connect with a lion, or recognise their intelligence and emotions. If our film can achieve a measure of empathy, we have made a difference. I do hope the people of South Africa and visitors attending the conference will come to see Lion Ark and understand why it is so important to give wild lions more protection. Come and see the film, look them in the eyes and make the connection.

The culmination of the recent Spirit of Freedom operation was the airlift of the 33 ex-circus lions from Peru and Colombia, back to their native Africa. At Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa, our family groups are now settling into their new environment and ADI is making a huge investment, making large natural bush habitats and funding their lifelong care.

Here is a good aim for CITES – no lion to be stolen from the wild ever again to suffer a lifetime of cruelty, deprivation and desperation; passing on the misery and suffering generation after generation, for just a few minutes of human entertainment. Likewise, let’s end the killing for entertainment. Surely, we can all agree on that.

Circus cage pushed into position - Arequipa

The Lion Ark DVD is scheduled for worldwide release in November (we will have some advance copies at the screenings).

#33 lions #lionsbacktoafrica.org – update

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Joseph relaxing in his new habitat at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, South Africa. All 33 lions are settling down into their new routine and continuing to explore. Joseph has inspected his habitat in detail and is clearly enjoying just lying about in the sun. As each animal is observed over the next weeks and months, some new groups will be formed and current established families will be given their extended habitats – but only once veterinary operations are complete and we are confident about levels of fitness and adaption to their environment. A huge sense of peace has settled over the sanctuary as the morning and evening roaring of the 33 becomes familiar to all other residents!

#33 lions – they are home

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Two years of gruelling hard work has got us to Africa with our rescued lions – the 33 from circuses and Peru and Colombia are home in their native land. Enjoying more space, trees, grass, bushes and sun than they have ever experienced in their lives, they will never suffer again.

I am sitting at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo, South Africa as our 33 lions roar into their second sunset in the African bush. They are in their large bonding camps, separate fenced rooms with their usual companions. In these camps they will come together again as families, we can complete dental surgeries and procedures to prevent breeding will be completed, and more. As each group becomes ready, they will be released into their 2.5-5 acre enclosures, allocated by size of pride and needs (for example our elderly and special needs individuals will have smaller enclosures). It will take at least 12 weeks before the first families move out to live forever in their own piece of the African bush. They’ll return to their bonding camps each day, to be fed and can also be monitored.

Phase II of the build, the remainder of the habitats are being completed over the coming months. We’ve built roads into the bush, power lines, electric fencing, gates, spring-fed water ponds. We must raise a further $150,000 to finish the rest of the habitats for our 33 lions saved from lives of desperation and suffering. They deserve their chance for a peaceful life under the African sun.

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Junior here, is enjoying the African bush – seeing our lions rub up against their first tree, walk through the shrubs and grass of Africa for the first time, has been stunning. A huge privilege to be here to see their world expand.

The passionate support and enthusiasm of the public across Latin America, Africa and worldwide has been truly overwhelming. We are so grateful that so many have supported this rescue and been willing to speak for the individual lions we have been so determined to give their chance of happiness – on their behalf, thank you – the Cusco family: Rey, Kiara, Smith, Amazonas, Mahla and Scarc. The Huarrals: Leo, Muñeca, Coco, Chino, Rolex, Africa, Kiara2. Brothers Rey and Simba Ayachucho. David and Rapunzel, Arequipa. They Huancayos: King, Junnior and Ricardo. The Limas: Liso, José and Joseph. The Bucaramanga, Colombia family: Barbie, Bollilo, Bumba, Junior, Easy, Shakira, Iron, Ojiclaro and Zeus.

So many helped with the cost of the flight – $10,000 per lion – special thanks to Bob Barker and DJ&T Foundation, Greater Good, Oakland Zoo, Spurlino Foundation and Bannerman Foundation, Dr Lo Sprague and Rev Dr Gwynne Guidbord and so many others – you all know who you are – who gave so much to give life and a future to these wonderful lions. Thank you all.

A busy April in Peru, Colombia, South Africa and U.S.

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Everyone is going home this month! First up is Hoover the tiger’s flight from Peru to his wonderful forever home at Big Cat Rescue in Florida and then towards the end of the month we hope to lock the flights for our 33 African lions from Peru and Colombia, to take them to their forever home in their native land – the amazing Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary.

Hoover in circus

The lion flight has been logistically complex, we must fly the 9 lions in northern Colombia to Bogota – Barbie, Bollilo, Bumba, Junior, Easy, Shakira, Iron, Ojiclaro and Zeus will be the first to board the Spirit of Freedom flight at Bogota. We then depart for our first stop – Lima, Peru.

In Lima, we load the 24 lions – the Cusco pride, Rey, Kiara, Scarc, Mahla, Amazonas and Smith, plus Kala; the Huarrals – Leo, Muñeca, Coco, Chino, Rolex, Africa and Kiara2; the Ayachucho brothers, Rey and Simba; the Arequipas, Rapunzel and David; the Huancayo boys – buddies King and Junior and solitary one-eyed Ricardo; the Lima boys – buddies Liso and José and partially sighted darling Joseph. They will travel in their own crates but importantly, families will be together, friends must be next to each other – our loading is complicated!

In their new homes in Africa the families will be bonding together again and the special needs boys, Joseph and Ricardo, will have enclosures with potential hazards removed and maybe some signage assistance!

We cannot thank enough the fantastic people at The Greater Good, who are working so very hard to ensure that all of our lions get sponsored on their flight to freedom – this magnificent group has already got 53,000 miles of the journey sponsored! Already funded for their ticket to freedom are Leo, Rapunzel, Liso, Kiara, David, Simba and Scarc.

Getting each lion sponsored is a huge help for a small group like ADI, as Emoya continues to build the extensive enclosures in Africa – we still have another $150,000 to pay for the final phase, but when finished, these (non-breeding) family prides and groups of friends will be together again and in more space than they have ever known. Just where they should be.

Thank you so much, Greater Good team, and all the remarkable people who have donated to help save these lions!

https://theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com/store/ars/item/76636/fly-lions-to-freedom-?source=4-2830-3

Fly them back to Africa!

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After a lifetime of pain and suffering, we have the chance to take 33 ex-circus lions back to their native Africa. They can live as close to freedom as we can get, in natural bush enclosures at the wonderful Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa – spending their days under the Africa sun, as intended. This is a chance to make things right, for these lions at least.

The brilliant team at Greater Good The Animal Rescue Site – are making sure these lions get their ticket home. Everyone can help:
https://theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com/store/ars/item/76636/fly-lions-to-freedom-?source=10-3322009-1

Circus animals are free and going home

Huge thanks to Christian at The Dodo for his feature on the Spirit of Freedom circus animal rescue and our massive airlift to get the 33 ex-circus lions from Peru and Colombia, back to their native Africa!

The seizures, rescues, animal care at the temporary rescue facilities and finding homes for over 100 animals has been tough, but the outcome has been so rewarding. Who would have ever imagined seeing Cholita the spectacled bear back in the forest – and now with bears next door! And lonely spider monkey Pepe, who found happiness with Valerie; they were then joined by Samantha, Annie, Mateo and Cindy – all swinging through the trees in their own piece of rainforest. James the Military macaw has flown free, and others have moved on. Some are now in wild release projects, learning to live free.

Now it is the turn of the lions – Rey and Kiara and their family, Leo and his family, David and Rapunzel, Ricardo, Joseph, and all the others. Time for Africa.

Thanks Christian, and The Dodo, for helping!
See the article here:
https://www.thedodo.com/circus-animals-peru-lions-1664361968.html