But it had been worth it — the former circus lions had endured years of abuse. Many of them had had their claws removed and teeth knocked out, been starved and spent their lives in tiny cages or at the ends of chains.
When the rescue lions were finally released in their large enclosures at the sanctuary, they seemed incredibly happy.
"Before ADI rescued them, these animals had never felt the grass beneath their feet or the sun over their heads,” Jan Creamer, president of ADI, said in a statement last year. “Yesterday, they were in the African bush. This has been a really important mission because it has eliminated circus suffering in Peru, saving future generations of animals. Getting the animals home has been exhausting and exhilarating.