Good news! These four beautiful Lions have now made their journey to their new home at Five sisters zoo! The Zoo managed to raise the money needed and made a beautiful new enclosure just for them to enjoy. And today they finally got to feel fresh grass under their paws and will now enjoy the rest of their lives in comfort and safety together…
In May 2014 four male lions were confiscated by the Belgian Government from “Zavatta” a travelling French Circus that were performing in the City of Luik in Belgium. The reason for the confiscation was that since March 2014, Belgian Law forbids the use of wild animals in circuses, and despite Government Inspectors of Animal Welfare warning the circus of this fact on 3 occasions, the circus simply laughed at the officials and continued performing. After Government officials confiscated the circus trailer, they drove it to a Belgian rescue centre that were able to facilitate the emergency temporary homing of the scared animals. The centre was able to assess the lions and since May, has provided a safe and secure area for them. Since then the Centre has been desperately trying to find a permanent home for them as they are not able to keep them indefinitely.
Once the Rescue centre had removed the lions from the circus trailer they found it to be in a terrible condition with large pieces of metal jutting out and holes in the floor and the space terribly cramped for 4 large wild animals. As the lions were confiscated, the exact history of the lions is not yet known, not even their age or breed.
What they do know are that they have all been castrated and probably at a very young age. All the nutrition and energy that would normally be invested in male hormones and manes therefore goes into growth, possibly the reason for them being so large and giving the appearance of a lioness. They were most probably born in this or another circus as it is commonplace for young lions to be transferred from one circus to another.
What is less noticeable about these lions is the fact they don’t have claws on their fore-paws, the nails are completely gone presumably they were either cut of or pulled out but it’s not known for sure how it was done. Apparently this frequently happens in circuses, because the animals are then less dangerous when they hit the animal trainer.
A video clip provided by the Rescue Centre shows the lions reaction to a stick – and a spokesman for the centre stressed “it’s something we normally would never do in the rescue center, so it’s with pain in my heart, but I think it’s important to show you how the animals react to a stick. We often see this in circus animals. They were often beaten up, and really know the stick… When I show the stick to my dogs, they are happy because they think they can play. The lions however cringe, showing that they had a terrible life. This is why I am so happy to give those lions a new life, and this new life starts here in the rescue center. We don’t know where it will end, but I hope we will have the permission very soon to look for a definitive and good solution.”
And this below is a video that Five sisters zoo recorded while visiting the rescue centre:
There is also a Vimeo video about the rescue
I don’t like Zoo’s. I do however think that we sometimes need them, just in cases like this, where hurt animals can get a new lease of life and be taken care of. This zoo I have only heard good things about and also have a colleague who spends lots of time there and know how they take care of the animals. These young Lions would get a good safe home there and can finally leave their old life behind them.
What I think about Circuses? They should be forbidden to have any animals what so ever. It is wrong to throw animals in trucks to drive them all over the place and forced to perform.