A crackdown on an illegal circus in Peru has freed 32 lions from captivity. The lions that were liberated were emaciated and injured and had clear mental scarring from being forced to live in a small cage when they weren’t performing. Many of them had their teeth smashed in and claws removed to prevent them from retaliating against handlers when they were abused.

These young lions were found with their claws removed…


Joseph, one of the lions freed from the circus, went blind in one eye after developing a cataract. His cataract was very treatable and could have been prevented if his handlers had made the little effort it takes to pursue basic medical care. As if that wasn’t bad enough a few of his handlers even nicknamed him “blind” to taunt his condition.

This was their living space. Three to four big cats in one enclosure the size of a cheap New York apartment. Deplorable.


All of the animals that have been rescued owe their freedom the amazing work of Animal Defenders International (ADI). The rescue is the product of a month-long rescue campaign named Operation of Spirit Freedom. Over 90 animals have been rescued thanks to ADI the lions will be flown back to South Africa. There they’ll be kept in large enclosures to be rehabilitated at  the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary

Luckily, they’re getting the medical treatment they need.

Circuses are not fun for animals, there’s no arguing that fact. Sadly the public at large has yet to realize the library of negative effects circuses have on the animals they house. But things are getting better, exposé stories like these are shedding light on the plight of circus animals one animal at a time.

As Green Monsters, it is up to us to share these stories with as many people as possible. We can all do our part to make sure the story of Joseph the Lion is never repeated!