Colorado: Lion Country

February 2011

Twenty-five lions rescued from traveling circuses in Bolivia will arrive at Denver International Airport on Wednesday en route to the Wild Animal Sanctuary near Keenesburg, about 40 miles northeast of Denver, reports the Denver Post. The Operation Lion Ark mission will bring the lions to a sanctuary where bears, leopards, tigers, wolves, and other beasts—270 in all—now reside. Bolivia recently enacted a law prohibiting the commercial showcasing of wild animals, explains Jan Cramer, the sanctuary's president: "We know the lions are going to have the life they deserve on these 80 acres. It is more than we could ever have wished for anywhere else."

The $200,000 cost of caring for the incoming lions is being paid for with help from Bob Barker, former host of The Price is Right and an animal-rights activist. United Airlines has donated the use of a hangar for the arrival of the lions, and the Bolivian state-owned air service, Transportes Aereos Bolivianos, says it's "reaffirming our social commitment by participating in this great cause (via press release).