Bolivian CITES Delegate awarded at Lion Ark screening

Bolivia’s courage and commitment in being the first country in the world to ban all animal acts in circuses was recognised at the Johannesburg screening of Lion Ark on Saturday 1st October.

It was a bold move for Bolivia to ban animal circuses and decisive to work with Animal Defenders International (ADI) on the dramatic enforcement operation that is documented in Lion Ark.  A gold standard was set for how an NGO could co-operate in such a mission.  As Bolivian wildlife official David Kopp notes in Lion Ark:  “We’re looking for respect and co-ordinated work,when the work is done with respect for the Bolivian laws and the Bolivian system, then we can do big things, like this.”

The Johannesburg screening of Lion Ark at Ster-Kinekor Nouveau Theatre, Rosebank, was timed to coincide with the Convention on Trade in International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) conference taking place nearby.  At the conference delegates of 183 countries decide on the fates of millions of animals as they agree which international trade in animals and plants will be restricted or not.

Guest of honour at the screening was Bolivian CITES Delegate Antonietta Mollo, who ADI President and Lion Ark producer, Jan Creamer presented with an ADI Award for Services to Animal Protection and Welfare Action by Government Wildlife Officials, specifically recognising the action of the Bolivian Government and the wildlife officials of the DGB.

Antionetta told the audience of the importance of strong enforcement action to protect animals and the rescue of the lions and other animals during Operation Lion Ark had a special place in the hearts of the Bolivian people.

ADI also presented awards to the wildlife officials of Peru (the Government, SERFOR and ATFFS) and Colombian officials (the Government, MADS, CDMB, ICA) who assisted in the recent circus ban enforcement known as Operation Spirit of Freedom which has seen over 100 animals saved, including over 30 lions being flown to a new life in Africa.  The screening was a special fundraiser for those lions.
A special presentation was made by ADI to Jessica Galvez, Peru’s delegate of Servicio Nacional Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre-SERFOR, who for years never gave up seeking a home for spectacled bear Cholita.  The bear been seized from a circus in Peru which had mutilated her, cutting off her fingers and breaking off her teeth.  But it had proved impossible to find a home for Cholita who had lost all her fur due to stress.  Jessica never gave up and a meeting with ADI, during Operation Spirit of Freedom transformed Cholita’s life.  Last year, ADI, took Cholita home to the forest where she thrives in ADI care and has other spectacled bears as neighbours.

To help with the habitats currently being built for the lions rescued from Peru and Colombia and the care of Cholita and other animals rescued by ADI, please donate here.

Next for Lion Ark is a tour of the United States, for dates and bookings check here.


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