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Lions leave shoddy Kansas ‘refuge’ for new home

For Immediate Release:
April 1, 2009

Contact:
Lisa Wathne 757-622-7382

Detroit — Three rescued lions arriving at their new home at the Detroit Zoo within the next 24 hours will be greeted by a gift basket of “big cat goodies”–including toys, catnip, and a variety of appealing spices–to help them pass the time during their initial 30-day quarantine. The male lion and two female lions had recently lived in a junkyard in Kansas and were released after PETA pressed authorities to take action.

PETA was first alerted to the big cats’ plight in May 2008, when a passerby reported that lions and tigers were being kept in a junkyard. PETA sent a team of exotic-animal experts to the site. Their reports detailed unhealthy and unsafe conditions and were included in the local sheriff’s report, which recommended that charges be filed against the big cats’ owner. Authorities redoubled their efforts after a man was bitten by one of the lions in February. The Detroit Zoo agreed to take the lions; the tigers will be sent to the Carnivore Preservation Trust sanctuary in North Carolina. The zoo is covering all the lions’ testing and transportation expenses, while PETA is covering those costs for the tigers.

Kansas state laws that were passed in 2006 prohibit the big cats’ owner from acquiring more dangerous wild animals.

“These lions, unlike so many animals who are still stuck in shabby roadside ‘zoos,’ are the lucky ones who got out,” says PETA Director of Captive Exotic Animals Debbie Leahy. “We are grateful to the Detroit Zoo for making them ambassadors of hope for all the other animals who are living in miserable conditions and who have no laws to protect them.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org. Photos of the cats’ living conditions while they were kept in Kansas are available on request.

http://www.peta.org/mc/NewsItem.asp?id=12858

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Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org

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