By Natasha Donn [Admin note: This is a follow-up to this post.\
After the hugely-publicised police swoop on a circus in Lisbon this week - where nine lions were reportedly ‘apprehended’ for not having the right papers - we hear from the lion tamer himself, Victor Hugo Cardinali, who declares on his Facebook page, that the animals are all legal and above board.
As the official Circus Victor Hugo Cardinali page affirms: “As everyone knows, animals that are not licensed cannot even get into Europe.”
The circus has their audience-pulling felines duly equipped with licences under the CITES convention (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), it is simply that the paperwork was “done in Spain”, reads the page.
Following a press conference in Lisbon last night and reports via Lusa news agency, the circus now declares “the show will go on, with performances until January 5.”
Very possibly, in the end, there is no such thing as bad publicity.
But events at the beginning of the week had the hallmarks of disaster. Police descended on trailers round the big top - which had just set up at Parque das Nações for its Christmas spectacular - and declared the animals ‘apprehended’ as they were not registered under the CITES convention for the protection of endangered species.
Although left in situ, the bottom line was that the big cats couldn’t be used in any of the upcoming performances, which would have rendered Christmas a wash-out in terms of revenue.
Now, the circus affirms, it will “regularise the situation” and Victor Hugo Cardinali and his lions will be back in business.