Rescued circus lions to be flown from Peru to African sanctuary

In this Friday, Feb. 20, 2015 photo, a former circus lion named ‘King’ lies sedated as a veterinarian performs dental surgery, inside a temporary refuge for the lion on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. (AP / Martin Mejia)

LIMA, Peru – Thirty-three lions rescued from circuses in Peru and Colombia will be flown to South Africa in October to live out the rest of their lives in a private sanctuary.

The president of Animal Defenders International, Jan Creamer, says the group is arranging the flight on a 747 from Lima, Peru.

Creamer said Monday that placing the lions at the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo province was all she could hope and dream for. Original plans had called for sending them to the United States.

The lions suffered in captivity in South America. Some were declawed. One lost an eye and many were recovered with broken or rotting teeth.

Creamer said the entire trans-Atlantic transport operation would cost $400,000.

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