by Maddie Doering
The circus, two continents, and Bob Barker. What?!? It’s a crazy connection, but one for the books. Last Wednesday, February 16, twenty-five lions arrived in Denver after being rescued from a number of circuses located across the South American country of Bolivia. The rescuers, a group by the name of Animal
Defenders International (ADI), are responsible for the political action that recently resulted in the world’s first law prohibiting the use of wild or domestic animals in circus performances. Due to undercover investigations and political actions taken over years by the ADI, these lions were able to be evacuated from their respective circuses and treated for the various maladies they had developed; ranging from severe malnutrition and water deprivation, to lion bone disease from a lack of proper food and exercise.
These poor lions, ranging from cubs to adults, had been kept in cages that were clearly never meant to be opened, and after being kept in captivity their entire lives, there is no way they could ever survive in the wild. Which brings us to their new home in chilly Colorado. As many of you will know, the world’s premier large carnivore sanctuary resides a mere 35 miles north of Denver outside the small town of Keenesburg. And now their residents will increase to a whopping 295 animals after accepting these lion refugees. To allow the lions to adapt to the Colorado climate, eight state-of-the-art 1400 square-foot enclosures have been built especially for their acclimation, but these enclosures won’t be their final accommodations. Following close observation the lions will be released into four prides, each within a 20-acre habitat complete with underground dens, shade structures, and play structures. I’d say that’s a step up from trailers, where up to eight adult lions were crammed together, wouldn’t you?
How was all this funded? Well, the “Price Was Right!” Former game show host Bob Barker was instrumental gathering the funds necessary for “Operation Lion Ark.” Barker has long been a leading animal rights activist, and hopes one day animals will no longer be used for entertainment. Barker was there to meet the lions as they were unloaded, and greeted them with “Lion number one, come on down!” Classic.
Now, more than ever, The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) in Keenesburg needs your help. The Student Activists: “Kids Who Care” at Lyons Middle/Senior High School is still running its donation drive, which benefits TWAS. The drive ends February 25, so this may be your last chance to participate. Don’t be left behind as the animal rights movement pushes forward; you can still make a difference! Please see the locations below for where and what you can donate. Student Activists “Kids Who Care” would again like to thank everyone who has already donated, and all those still to come. Thank you for going wild!
Wild Animal Sanctuary
Donation Wish List:
Dry Dog Food – High Quality
Dry Cat Food – High Quality
Lyons Elementary School – Collection Box
Lyons Middle/Sr. High – Collection Box & Jar
The Stone Cup – Collection Jar
Lyons Vet Clinic – Collection Box & Jar
Ohm Gallery Plus Salon – Collection Jar
Lyons Montessori School – Collection Box
Lyons Re-Runs – Collection Box & Jar
Redstone Cyclery – Collection Jar
Experience Boutique – Collection Jar
Steamboat Health Food Store – Collection Box
St. Vrain Market – Collection Jar
Dave’s Diner – Collection Jar