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Will, a rescued circus lion, spent his first 13 years with a Brazilian circus, never so much as feeling the dirt and grass under his feet.


A Brazilian animal sanctuary last week shared video of Will acting like a curious kitty (belying his age) when he set foot on grass for the very first time. He was raised in captivity,  living indoors in an area with cold metal floors. His reaction is heartwarming, especially when you see him flop on his back and roll in the grass. It’s great to see how much he likes the rocks and sticks.

This retired circus lion was lucky to wind up in a happy place where he can live out the remainder of his days. A lion can live up to 14 years in the wild, or up to 26 in captivity. The sanctuary takes care of domestic, wild, and exotic animals displaced by abuse, circuses, cockfighting, trafficking, the fur industry, deforestation, accidents, and other issues.  Will will have a lot of company at the sanctuary. It houses lots of animals including other lions, jaguars, sloths, deer, macaws, parrots, monkeys, otters, dogs, and cats. The organization also conducts environmental education programs for kids.

There are a number of accredited animal sanctuaries in the United States. Some animals who will lose their jobs due to the closing of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus will be able to retire at these sanctuaries. Several years ago, a sanctuary in Colorado took in 33 lions that were confiscated from illegal South American circuses.

Tyler  Waldman About the author:
Tyler Waldman is a general assignment writer for Rare. Follow him on Twitter @aresef.
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