3 minute read
22 Jan 2020
6:25 am

IN PICS: From circus cages to veld – big cats finally taste freedom


Twelve tigers and five lions rescued in South America landed at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday, ready for a new life in the Free State.

One of 12 tigers and 5 lions that have been transported from Guatemala after spending their lives in circuses arrives at OR Tambo Cargo Depot, 21 January 2020. Guatemala recently banned all animals in circuses in that country. These animals are destined for a sanctuary in the Free State. The operation dubbed Liberty was organised by Animal Defenders International (ADI) and supported by Picture: Neil McCartney

Tigers and lions that have spent years in cages, and have never felt grass beneath their feet, are taking their first steps of freedom this week. An 18-month long rescue mission, dubbed Operation Liberty, finally came to fruition yesterday, when a cargo plane transporting 12 tigers and five lions landed at OR Tambo International Airport. Despite travelling all the way from Guatemala City, surprisingly the journey wasn’t too bad, said Animal Defenders International president and co-founder Jan Creamer.The animals were not sedated but flew very well, a sombre reminder of just how used to cages they are. “The lions like...