Lions and tigers have been freed from circuses and moved to wildlife sanctuaries

Two separate rescue operations have led to a happy ending for a group of tigers and lions held captive in traveling circuses.

The Bengal tiger family – Messi, Sandro, Mafalda and Gustavo – have spent their lives knowing only one world behind the bars of a metal train carriage, according to Plant Based News. Two of the older tigers had been dropped off (train cage and all) at a local farmer in San Luis, Argentina. The farmer agreed to take care of the duo temporarily. But the circus never returned. The two tigers eventually had cubs, and the family of four continued to live in captivity for years.

“The wagon was dirty with excrement and leftover meat and bones for a long time, but luckily that is no longer the case,” said FOUR PAWS vet and rescue mission leader Dr Amir Khalil . FOUR LEGS is a global animal welfare organization dedicated to rescuing domestic and wild animals from inhumane or dire conditions.

The “Train Tigers” now live happily ever after LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in Bethlehem, South Africa, in environments closer to their natural habitat.

No more wire cages, just outdoors, blue skies and soft grass.


Meanwhile, in France, four lions named Angela, Bellone, Saïda and Louga (who would later earn the nickname “Lions of Lockdown”) had endured an equally toxic circus life since they were cubs. After being abandoned by their owner, an animal conservation group called born free moved the abandoned lions into a three-acre paddock at the Shamwari Private Game Reserve, also in South Africa. These lions and tigers are practically neighbors.

Born Free manager Catherine Gillson said in a statement“It has been a long journey for our Lockdown Lions, but I hope that with each day spent with us in the peace of our sanctuary, they will continue to grow stronger and stronger. Their return to our Big Cat Sanctuary in Shamwari will allow them to come closer to the life they have been denied for so many years!The sights, sounds and smells of their rescued feline companions will heighten their senses immediately as they begin to acclimatize to their new life.They are now in their forever home in Africa.

Many feral cats around the world are suffering. There are currently only 23,000 lions stay in nature, and less than 4,000 tigers. These alarming figures aside, circus felines are deprived of natural enrichment and subjected to absolute abuse: punishment training to perform tricks. Is it really necessary for a moment of entertainment? Entertainment arguably lackluster at that. Seeing a tiger leap through a hoop of fire or a lion rearing up on its hind legs is certainly not worth witnessing in its own environment. Sometimes the most natural things are the most fascinating.

That’s what makes these simultaneous rescue missions so important. We share the planet with truly majestic creatures, who deserve respect and decency.

Thank you to organizations like FOUR PAWS and Born Free, who have given the ‘Train Tigers’ and ‘Lions of Lockdown’ a healthy forever home.

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Charles P. Patton