Bolivian circus lions will go to Calif. sanctuary

From the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s E-NEWS:


In June of last year, Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, signed Law 4040 — banning wild and domestic animals in traveling circuses throughout his country. This is the first national circus ban in South America and the world’s first ban on ALL circus acts. This victory was the culmination of years of work by Animal Defenders International (ADI), local animal protection groups and individuals throughout Bolivia.

Following the ban, the first Bolivian circus has gone animal free and the animals have been handed over to ADI. PAWS has offered to take five lions — three males and two females of varying ages — and construction has already begun on their new habitat at ARK 2000 (see video link, below). ADI has committed to supporting the lions for the rest of their lives.

A rescue like this is extremely complex and costly and can take months to complete. ADI is working as quickly as possible to obtain all of the necessary permits. In the meantime, a team in Bolivia is feeding and caring for the animals. Veterinarian Dr. Mel Richardson has given each lion a thorough health exam and administered the vaccinations required for their journey to California. The lions will be traveling to ARK 2000 in May.

PAWS’ single lioness, Sheba, will occupy an adjacent enclosure to the Bolivia lions. She will be the first of the remaining animals in Galt to move to the San Andreas sanctuary where she will enjoy a much larger habitat and new companions.

The enclosure site is situated on a grassy hill next to the tiger habitat with many oak trees and scrub brush and some very large pine trees that fell in the last storm. The circus lions, who have lived in small circus cages all of their lives, will soon be found reclining on the big pine logs or exploring the spacious habitat, enjoying their new freedom and new neighbors. The roar of lions will be a raucous addition to the tiger and elephant vocalizations.

PAWS is pleased to announce this important collaboration with ADI, one of the premier organizations working to ban the use of animals in circuses. Their amazing campaigns and victories are an inspiration to everyone who works on this critical issue. To learn more about ADI, visit their Web site at

To view a video of the new lion habitat being built at ARK 2000, CLICK HERE.


Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at


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