In an undisclosed location just outside of Lima, Peru, a pride of rescued circus lions is awaiting their new lives at a sanctuary. But first, they have to take a cross-continental flight to get there.
Peru passed a piece of groundbreaking legislation in 2011 that would end the use of wild animals in circuses. Soon, the country's circuses will be free of exotic animals in cages - but getting the animals out is easier said than done.
It was a landmark ban for a country where animal welfare standards are notoriously poor. The official ban doesn't go into effect until December, but many circuses are relinquishing their animals sooner.
One massive undertaking in the country is aiming to round up all of the circus lions in the country so they can be shipped to a sanctuary. So far, rescuers with Animal Defenders International (ADI) have collected a group of twelve lions at a holding center in Peru, and nine lions in custody in Colombia.
They've been hopping from circus to circus, gathering lions in large crates from circus owners, some of whom are less than happy to give up their animals. As ADI Campaigns Director Tim Phillips told The Dodo, many of the lions are being relinquished by circus owners in expectation of the impending ban.
(Animal Defenders International)