Two Lions Make a 10,000-Mile Journey from the Circus to Freedom

BulgariaLionsReleased.jpg

After spending nearly eight years in captivity, Bulgaria’s last two circus lions were successfully released to a wildlife reservation in South Africa on Monday.

The pair, a set of eight-year-old African lions named Jora and Black, traveled more than 10,500 miles, via airplane and vehicle transport, to reach their final destination at Shamwari Game Reserve—a move that started on Friday and ended Sunday night when they arrived at a nearby overnight camp.

The reservation is one of the largest private conservation initiatives in southern Africa. Located in the Eastern Cape near Port Elizabeth, it is situated on 61 acres of land and contains the African bush environment the lions have spent most of their lives removed from.  

Born Free Foundation, a wildlife-focused nonprofit, helped rescue the pair from Bulgaria, where they had been kept in a beast wagon since the summer of 2014. After Bulgaria made it illegal to use wild animals in circus acts earlier this year, the owners left the lions in the cramped metal trailer until Born Free was able to re-home them.

“I hope their story will inspire people to treat wild animals with respect and understanding, and never subject them to totally inappropriate existences in captivity,” said Born Free cofounder Virginia McKenna OBE in a statement.

Jora & Black arrive safely in the U.K. before their final stop in

South Africa to start their new lives. (Photo: Twitter)

Circuses have long been under scrutiny for mistreating animals, housing them in small cages and forcing them to perform tricks in front of hundreds of onlookers. Earlier this year, the popular circus group Ringling Bros. announced it would discontinue using endangered Asian elephants in its shows, with a plan to end elephant acts completely over the course of a three-year period. The circus will transfer the last of its 13 elephant performers to its Center for Elephant Conservation, a 200-acre ranch located in Polk City, Florida. 

This story was originally published on Take Part.


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Leaderboard

1
+363sc earned social capital
2
+144sc earned social capital
3
+139sc earned social capital
4
+136sc earned social capital
5
+122sc earned social capital
6
+116sc earned social capital
7
+109sc earned social capital
8
+109sc earned social capital
9
+102sc earned social capital
10
+99sc earned social capital
11
+96sc earned social capital
12
+92sc earned social capital
13
+84sc earned social capital
14
+84sc earned social capital
15
+80sc earned social capital
16
+78sc earned social capital
17
+76sc earned social capital
18
+76sc earned social capital
19
+76sc earned social capital
20
+76sc earned social capital