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Will the lion spent the last 13 years of his life in a Brazillian circus. Although wild animal circus bans do exist on a local level in Brazil, sadly many animals continue to be abused and exploited in these cruel attractions. Will was one of these animals and the impact of living in a cramped, fetid cage took a major toll on his well-being.

Thankfully, after over a decade of suffering, Will was rescued by Rancho do Gnomos. This amazing organization is a safe haven for domestic, wild and exotic animals who have been abused or neglected. Most of the animals in the sanctuary’s care come from captivity backgrounds, so the staff was more than prepared to help Will adjust to his new found freedom.

In this video, Will steps onto the grass for the first time in years! Seeming to understand that he will never have to suffer in a small cage again, Will makes himself right at home. It’s a shame it took him 13 years of suffering to reach this point, but we are so pleased to see him finally taste freedom!

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283 comments on “Rescued Circus Lion Feels Grass and Dirt for the First Time in 13 Years! (VIDEO)”

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11 Months Ago

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1 Years Ago

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1 Years Ago

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1 Years Ago

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1 Years Ago


Susan Wilson
1 Years Ago


carol Middleton
1 Years Ago

Now all he needs is a lovely lady lion companion..He has earned it. What a happy ending for him.. Right away he scratches in the grass and dirt..Just love a beautiful outcome for our animal friends..You guys are great !!

1 Years Ago

That beautiful guy knows what to do with dirt and grass ツ I wish all animals had this chance.

Maybe it\'s not back to the wild, but it\'s a damn sight better than a small, dank, stinking metal cage. I\'m not sure how long lions like Will can live, but I\'m happy that whatever time they have left will be filled with grass and sky, and compassion.

Thank you Rancho do Gnomos. Long may YOU live ❤❤❤

14 Dec 2016

I am glad you enjoyed the video Kat. As a Brazilian I am very proud of this sanctuary and of the Great Ape sanctuary we have over here. A huge sanctuary for elephants is also being built. it should be ready by the end of the year. You have no idea how special this is for animals lovers like me, Brazil is not the US that has a tradition of having sanctuaries. It is extrremly difficult because they depend solely on donations. The government does not help at all. Good thing is that most large cities no longer have circuses over here. In Rio deJaneiro where I live, they are illegal.

1 Years Ago

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1 Years Ago

I want to be happy and not be a buzzkil but isn\'t this just an upgraded zoo? Some of these sanctuaries are just like zoos, and the money after admin cost and such, is to help bring other animals to them, but i never see these animals make it back to the wild.
The excuse used is that they wouldn\'t be able to cope if they went back to the wild but i call bull.
I have 4 cats. Last year december my family moved and one of my boy cats went missing when we got out of the new place. we put up posters searched the area, called the vets, everything. We were mostly worried cause it was cold and he was in an unfamiliar area.

We lost him for 8 months. cats are considered domesticated, but out of all the other domesticated animals, cats have the strongest survival rate in my opinion. he didn\'t get taken in my any family or vet (thank god he hasn\'t been mutilated by one) and after about 6 months of him missing my old neighbours started to see him (2 of my cats are outdoor cats and popular lol). he was a little skinnier and we did get him back a couple weeks later, but my point is, he didn\'t die, didn\'t come back sick, and i think he was relieved to find us cause its been over a month since he\'s been home and he is so loving to us and isnt interested in going outside atm (although my other cat is going out now). i know lions and cats are different but i feel its similar. my cat found a way to survive because that\'s in his nature. Being with humans is a learned behaviour for these animals and if they put him back out in the wild i reckon this lion would reclimatise himself and be just fine.

Gary Ware
15 Oct 2016

This video does not reveal the health of the big cat. 13 years in a circus can not be compared to years of a domestic cat in a loving home. If released back to the wild, it would have to hunt large animals for food and fight other Lions for territory and food. This Lion does not look like it could take down a wildebeest. Jus sayin.

18 Oct 2016

I understand where you\'re coming from. I\'d LOVE to see every animal exactly where Nature intended them to be, but thanks to Mankind, there\'s less places for them to live, away from humans. And many of these animals were captive-born. Getting these horribly abused lions into the wild is just not do-able. So please be happy that whatever time Will and his buddies have left, they\'ll feel grass under their feet, see the sky, and not have to perform any idiotic stunts for even more idiotic people to gawk at.

When I just turned three years old, we went to the Central Park Zoo. My father was asked to remove me from the Lion House in the because I was crying so bad, and disturbing the other guests. My father asked me what was wrong, and I said that the lion, who was making those huffing roars, was very sad, and he was calling to his friends to come rescue him - he didn\'t like it there. He wanted to go home. I can still hear and see him. So I KNOW how you feel.

03 Nov 2016

The wild is very different from a suburban setting. I doubt your cat had to hunt very much, he probably scavenged rubbish and got the odd meal from kind people. If he did hunt it would have been very small animals.
Male lions do not do well by themselves, but to become part of a pride they need to be strong enough to fight for a position and also know pack behaviour, which this guy probably does not.
Also, if he did end up wandering alone, how is he going to take down the sort of prey they need to, not just survive, but thrive? That\'s why lions hunt in packs.
No offence but you seem to be a little naive about how tough it is in the real wild, not the suburban wild.

05 Nov 2016

Anay and from the looks of it he has no more claws. therefore he will never able to kill anything. lions are also pride animals. one alone seldom will be able to kill and eat. it is the pride that does hunting and killing and eating together. but i think anything will be better than scooped up in a stinking cage. and have to perform tricks every night. as much as i do love circus. i have not been to one in many years.

14 Dec 2016

It is not a zoo it is a huge santuary where the owners are speciaized in rescuing big cats. . No visitors are allowed in the Sanctuary. Rancho dos Gnomos has rescued several big cats from circuses across Latin America. That video was taken a few days after his rescue. He lived for many more years in the sanctuary. I don´t remember that specific lion´s name, put if you look up Rancho dos Gnomos you will see what a wonderful job this couple who ones it does. Unfortunately, none of the big cats rescued by the sanctuary can go back to the wild because they lost their killer instinct. But at least over there they can play and run as much as they want and are fed and taken care of by a vet. (they have 3 vets specialized in wild animals who live in the sanctuary.

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