Nelson and Ciam, two rescued lions, have been just moved by the Born Free Foundation from Belgium to a sanctuary in South Africa. Both lions were rescued from circuses by the Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis Ciam. The younger of the two cats, Ciam, is two and a half years old and was rescued after being sold (by a French circus) to a man who then put him in a cage in his backyard. Nelson is about seventeen years old and spent fifteen of those in a circus, after which time he was recovering at the Natuurhulpcentrum Wildlife Rescue.

The journey to the lions’ new home was a long one, including two flights, one of them ten hours long, but it paid off wonderfully. As Virginia McKenna from Born Free emphasizes in the video, moving wild animals long distances is always a challenge and their guardians can take a deep breath only after the animals are finally in their new location, safe and sound. That is exactly what happened with the two lions – both of them proved to be full of energy and really lively after arriving in South Africa.

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The moment when the lions set foot in their new home and began to explore the vast and beautiful land they now have access to was beautiful and emotional.

“I suppose it is even more profound in a strange way,” says McKenna, “because you cannot believe that from twenty years ago till now we are still allowing wild animals to live in the most hideous conditions.” But that fact makes her only more determined and inspired to help – and so should it be for all of us.

To learn more about the Born Free Foundation, click here.

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