For generations, lions as well as other wild animals have been used in circuses and forced to perform tricks for an audience. Not only are these animals confined to small cages with little space to move around, but they suffer a lifetime of abuse and stress. Animals are often whipped or mistreated during their training, or if they do not perform properly during shows. The average circus travels for 48 weeks of the year, and these wild animals must endure nonstop mistreatment during this time.

From the perspective of the audience, these shows may seem fun and exciting, but it is definitely not fun for the animals. Behind the scenes of these shows entails horrific living conditions and extreme animal abuse. Fortunately, there are animal activists and foundations who recognize that these wild animals belong in the wild, to roam free as they please.

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Let’s take a look at these heartwarming and hopeful videos of lions being set free into sanctuaries!

1. Rescued Circus Lions Touch Grass For The First Time

Source: The Dodo/Youtube

Before their rescue, Tarzan and Tanya had been stuck in a cage and forced to perform in a circus for eight long years in Guatemala. They’ve spent their entire lives up until their rescue, in captivity, and were exploited for entertainment. At the ADI rescue center in Guatemala, the rescue team aims to ban as many circuses as possible, and release these majestic creatures into a sanctuary in South Africa.

2. Circus Lion Can’t Wait To Be Reunited With Her Cubs

Source: The Dodo/Youtube

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This lion mom was separated from her cubs when she was rescued from a circus in Peru. In the video, she would not stop crying until she was reunited with them. At the circus, her cubs were ripped away from her so that they could be exploited for entertainment. The cubs were way too young to be separated from their mother. Luckily, rescuers worked hard to reunite this family!

3. Lions rescued from Romanian zoo released into South African sanctuary

Source: The Guardian/Youtube

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This family of lions was rescued from a Romanian zoo and released into Lions Rock, an animal sanctuary in South Africa’s eastern province of Free State. A charity called Four Paws, rescued this family of lions from Onesti zoo. During their time in captivity, they suffered from malnutrition and were put into cramped living spaces with little sunlight or access to nature. Watch this heartwarming video of them finally being released into a sanctuary!

4. Simba and Bella: Together at last

Source: Born Free Foundation/Youtube

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This rescue story is about two lions, Simba and Bella. Bella was rescued from Romania, and Simba, from a French circus. Simba was first placed at a sanctuary in Belgium. After being relocated to Africa, Simba was introduced to resident rescued lioness, Bella in 2015. These two now get to keep each other company in the safety of a sanctuary setting.

5. Jora and Black the Rescued Lions

Source: Born Free Foundation/Youtube

Watch this heart-warming video of two magnificent ex-circus lions, Eight-year-old brothers Jora and Black, who were successfully rescued from Bulgaria and are now thriving in their new South African home. Luckily, it is now illegal to use wild animals in Bulgarian circuses.

6. Lions say goodbye to the circus

Source: Born Free Foundation/Youtube

These four lions were born in a cage, and deprived of any freedom. Angela, Bellone, Louga, and Saïda are four lions who were born into the circus in France and spent their entire lives traveling and performing. They were forced to perform demeaning tricks and were whipped if they did not. Born Free Foundation was able to provide them with a lifetime home at a big cat rescue center in South Africa!

7. Virginia McKenna takes two lions ‘home’ to Africa

Source: Born Free Foundation/Youtube

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The Born Free Foundation helped these two lions finally reach freedom after a miserable life in the circus. They were rescued from Belgium and Brought to Born Free’s big cat sanctuary in South Africa. Ciam was two and a half when he was rescued in a circus in France. He was living in a cramped cage with little space to move around. Nelson was rescued at 17 by the foundation after 15 years of performing. Watch their release into the sanctuary!

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