The award-winning film Lion Ark, charting the Animal Defenders International (ADI) rescue operation to enforce legislation banning animal circuses in Bolivia, will premiere in Poland at a series of public screenings across the country organised by Fundacja Viva! – Akcja dla Zwierząt (Viva! Action for Animals Foundation) and the Polish Animal-Free Circus Coalition.
Lion Ark is more action adventure than traditional documentary. The critically acclaimed film follows the story of how a shocking exposé led to Bolivia banning animal circuses. Circuses defy the law but are tracked down by ADI, animals saved and a joyous finale sees 25 lions airlifted to freedom.
Current legislation in Poland restricts the use of wild-born animals nationwide, and dozens of local authorities prohibit the use of animals in circuses on public land. ADI is teaming up with Fundacja Viva! – Akcja dla Zwierząt and the Polish Animal-Free Circus Coalition to urge the government to extend its legislation and prohibit animals in circuses in line with other European countries including Austria, Croatia, Greece, Malta, Norway, Slovenia, and The Netherlands.
ADI’s case studies over the past twenty years have concluded that given the constant travel, the need for animal accommodation to be small, lightweight and mobile, circuses cannot provide the animals with the space and environment they need to maintain physical and psychological health. Welfare is always compromised.
The epic Operation Spirit of Freedom, their most recent mission, saw ADI rescue over 100 animals from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade as they assisted the government of Peru with enforcement of a ban on wild animal acts. Native animals including endangered bears and dozens of monkeys were rehomed in Amazon sanctuaries, while a tiger was relocated to a sanctuary in Florida and 33 African lions (nine from Colombia) airlifted to freedom and natural bush habitats in their native Africa.
ADI President and Lion Ark producer Jan Creamer said: “Seeing the transformation of the animals we save drives us to help others in need, and we hope Lion Ark will inspire viewers to help Poland’s circus animals.”