KEENESBURG, Colo., June 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The final 2 prides of African Lions rescued from Bolivian circuses will soon be roaming freely on 40 acres of rolling grasslands at The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS), as they are scheduled to be released on July 5, 2011.
One of the prides consisting of one male and two female Lions suffered from years of physical abuse and neglect in the circus. They had severe mouth problems requiring major dental work, which extended the length of their rehabilitation, and delaying their release.
The other pride that will be released includes three cubs that were only 7 weeks old when they were rescued, but had been separated with their mother from the other members of their pride so circus workers could steal them for photograph sessions with customers. "It is very rewarding to know these cubs will not have to endure years of hardship in the circus like their family members had, and will instead be able to roam freely in wild open spaces," said Executive Director Pat Craig. After months of being separated, the cubs and their mother were able to rejoin the pride, since the cubs had recently reached a suitable age and weight. The reunited pride of 7 will now be released into one of the Sanctuary's large acreage habitats where they can live together for the rest of their lives.
The Lions were rescued from eight different circuses throughout Bolivia after the government banned the use of animals in circus acts. Upon arrival in Colorado, the 25 big cats were temporarily housed in a state of the art 15,000 square foot biosphere-like building featuring natural amenities such as grass and trees while they went through the Sanctuary's rehabilitation process.
During their rehabilitation, four distinct prides were formed in order to allow the Lions to live in a more natural state. Two prides have already been rehabilitated and released into large acreage habitats, with the remaining two scheduled to be released in a matter of days. Craig says, "All of the Lions are doing remarkably well, and we are extremely excited to be able to release these final two prides. Everyone who has worked so hard to save these Lions is looking forward to seeing them enjoying their freedom and the quality of life they deserve."
About The Wild Animal Sanctuary:
Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center, Inc., DBA The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a 720 acre refuge for large carnivores that have been confiscated from illegal or abusive situations. The Sanctuary is located 30 miles northeast of Denver, Colorado near the town of Keenesburg. The non-profit organization currently cares for more than 290 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wolves and other large carnivores and provides lifelong care for its rescued animals. The Sanctuary is the oldest and largest carnivore sanctuary in existence, having been in operation since 1980. The facility is distinctive among others in that it provides large acreage natural habitats for its rescued animals to live in and roam freely. The Sanctuary is open daily to the public for educational purposes and features a unique system of observation decks and walkways that visitors utilize to see the animals in natural habitats.
SOURCE The Wild Animal Sanctuary