In a series of dramatic seizures all over Bolivia, Animal Defenders International (ADI), a leading animal protection group headquartered in Los Angeles, worked with the Bolivian authorities including the DGB and Santa Cruz Governor’s Office, to remove the animals from eight different circuses spread across Bolivia. The moves were to enforce Bolivia’s Law 4040, which bans the use of animals in circuses and has effectively shut down the country’s animal circus industry – the first time a full ban and evacuation has happened anywhere in the world.
With 24 lions now in their care, including three cubs and some that were extremely malnourished, ADI are nursing the animals back to full health before they can be airlifted and permanently rehomed in the U.S. later this month. Following what the ADI team calls ‘Operation Lion Ark,’ the group will carry out its pledge to continue supporting the lions’ care for the duration of their lives. In addition to the lion seizures, the team rescued six monkeys, a coati mundi, a deer and horse. After being seized, these animals were relocated in Bolivia or returned to the wild by the authorities.
The lions are currently being held in a temporary ADI compound near Santa Cruz on land generously donated to the project by Santa Cruz Mayor Percy Fernández, and are being cared for by an ADI team, including a full time veterinarian.
ADI President Jan Creamer, who is overseeing the rescue operation in Bolivia said, “We must commend the Bolivian authorities for the decisive way that they enforced the ban on animal circuses. Too often, worthy animal protection and conservation measures are passed but simply not enforced. That is not the case here. Bolivia has set a shining example to the world.
“ADI fought long and hard to secure the ban on animal circuses and we said we would be there to help enforce it. We are grateful for the work of the DGB, police, Mayor’s office, Governor’s office, and of course Congress, which passed this unique and ground-breaking law,” she added.
The ADI and DGB team travelled thousands of miles across Bolivia to the different circuses and despite being met by a hostile reception and attempts to conceal animals at some circuses, all of the animals were safely removed.
In the final operation in December, seven lions including three tiny seven-week-old cubs were removed from a circus in Monteagudo. A week prior to the rescue, ADI filmed the cubs being used in the circus show and taken to local parks to be on display for crowds of photograph seekers. More....