Peru officially outlawed the use of wild animals in circuses in 2011, however, illegal animal circuses continue to exist in the country. Animal Defenders International (ADI) has been working closely with the Peruvian government as well as local animal organizations to shut down illegal circuses and relocate the animals to sanctuaries, as part of their Operation Spirit of Freedom.

Over the past few years, ADI has worked diligently to educate the public about the cruelty of keeping wild animals in the circus in the hopes of getting community members involved reporting any illegal activity. It looks like all this hard work is paying off!

After receiving a tip about a circus traveling through the country with three lionesses and two monkeys, ADI and the Peruvian authorities set to work.


It took an entire week to track down the circus, but this amazing team was able to find and rescue all the animals from this sad life on the road.

According to a press release from ADI, “The three lionesses called Africa, Kiara and Muneca, and two monkeys, Valeria and Valentino, are on their way to the ADI Operation Spirit of Freedom rescue center near Lima.”

Once at the center, these newly freed animals will join the other 21 lions and 31 monkeys who are currently living at the sanctuary. With the addition of these five, ADI has successfully saved 70 animals from defunct circuses across Peru. We could not be more thrilled to see these well-deserving animals get their freedom!

“The ADI mission has always been to ensure no animals are left behind,” stated ADI President, Jan Creamer. “We are elated to have saved these animals today and they will get their chance of a new life on the ADI Spirit of Freedom flight. We will remain vigilant. There should be no wild animals in circuses, so if anyone sees one – they should call ADI.”

We certainly hope to see a day where all animals are free from exploitation in zoos and circuses, and thanks to kind and devoted people like the ADI team, we have no doubt that this reality will soon come to pass!

Image source: Tambacko the Jaguar/Flickr