Let’s face it – we’re all looking forward to retirement and crossing off a lot of firsts from that mounting to-do list. For one lucky ex-circus lion, this meant for the first time feeling grass beneath his feet.
A viral video (below), uploaded last week by the nonprofit organization Rancho dos Gnomos Santuário (known as Ecological Sanctuary Association – Rancho dos Gnomos in English) shows the exact moment that an ex-circus lion called Will was delivered to the sanctuary in Sao Paulo, Brazil. From a life of performing in circuses across Brazil to this luscious green pasture, Will is seen running excitedly onto the grass, happily lolloping and kneading the earth beneath his giant paws.
Aged 13, Will is nearing his twilight years. But you’d never know, with how sprightly and cat-like he springs from his holding cage. Spending his life in a Brazilian traveling circus, Will was “…confined to a cramped cage and denied any semblance of a normal existence,” writes the Brazilian sanctuary.
The sanctuary has dedicated nearly 25 years to caring for domestic and wild, neglected and abandoned animals, rescuing them from accidents, abuse, circuses, trafficking and habitat loss.
Home to over 230 animals, including lions, sloths and cats, the sanctuary has plans to expand into a new, bigger location in Serra da Mantiqueira with the help of public funding.
[H/T National Geographic]