MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A group of 33 lions rescued from their caged lives in circuses in South America settled into their new home – a wildlife sanctuary.
The plane, with all the lions on board, landed in Johannesburg, Africa Saturday night.
As of Monday, the lions had been taken to the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary on a private estate outside of the city.
Since many of them have been declawed and have broken teeth, they would not survive in the wild, meaning they will live out their lives in the sanctuary.
Animal Defenders International (ADI) rescued the wild cats from appalling conditions in circuses in Peru and Colombia.
“Before ADI rescued them, these animals had never felt the grass beneath their feet or the sun over their heads, yesterday they were in the African bush. This has been a really important mission because it has eliminated circus suffering in Peru, saving future generations of animals. Getting the animals home has been exhausting and exhilarating,” said ADI President Jan Creamer.
As they adjust to their new home, the lions will first live in bonding camps where other lions will be introduced. From then on, the lions will be released into habitats with platforms and watering holes.