If, like us, you followed the story of twenty-five lions rescued by Animal Defenders International last year, you’ll be thrilled to know that a film has been made about the conservationists’ struggle to rescue and re-home the animals.
Operation Lion Ark, as it became known, was a ground-breaking project in the conservation field as it ushered in the change of legislation regarding circuses in Bolivia. Not only did the organisation secure a ban on the use of animals in Bolivian circuses, but they rescued hundreds of animals from deplorable conditions in circuses across the country. In February last year the lions were flown to their new home in an animal sanctuary in Denver, Colorado, in what was the biggest airlift of its kind.
One of the male lions kept in captivity in a Bolivian circus.
The lions were rehabilitated in an especially built biosphere and they slowly began to socialise and adjust to their new, natural surroundings (many having never known a world outside of a metal cage). Today, the lions and their cubs roam the 20 acres of grass and trees in the Colorado hills – a long way from their home in Africa, but – given their new freedom – it’s a paradise worth settling for.
Free at last: the lions now roam a natural habitat in five prides
Lion Ark, The Movie documents the journey of the lions and the conservationists who endured through endless investigations, animal seizures and heartbreaking rescues to finally deliver the animals to freedom. A rescue like this had never before been documented on film and the film-makers saw this as an opportunity to capture history in vivid detail.
But more than just an exciting and inspiring film, the Lion Ark movie will help to spread awareness about what it’s really like for animals in need of rescue, as well as shedding light on how difficult it is for the individuals involved in saving them. The film explores the passion and dedication it takes to follow through on a commitment to a cause. In that way, it’s as much about the tenacity of the human spirit as it is about the resilience of wild animals; a fact that will open people’s eyes to the difference they can make, no matter how tough the fight may be.
What are your thoughts on circus animals: should the practice be banned altogether, or is there a place for wild animals in the entertainment industry? Leave us a comment below.