By Celeste Caminos
After being rescued from a circus in Peru, where they were exploited and mistreated, these animals were transferred last year to a feline sanctuary in South Africa, where they were supposed to start a new life.
Both were part of a group of 33 lions recovered from circuses in Colombia and Peru who had traveled to the Emoya Nature Sanctuary, a 5,000-hectare private reserve in the northern province of Limpopo, South Africa.
Their bodies were found decapitated, without legs, tail or skin. The lions were probably sacrificed to use their limbs in rituals, according to the authorities investigating the case, the BBC reported.
In that area there are many rituals and some healers use the parts of different animals (such as lion's feet or vulture brains) to prepare supposedly healing or magical potions.
José and Liso - on their path to freedom that began in 2014 - became inseparable.
Of the hundreds of animals rescued and relocated - including bears, monkeys and birds - lions were sent back to their natural habitat, in what was the largest movement of animals in the world to South Africa.
When they rescued José, they discovered that he had brain damage, probably from the blows he had been given to the head during his years in the circus. Also, many of them had neither teeth nor nails.
This prevented him from calculating distances and for this reason they built a special enclosure for him in Emoya, while Liso, says the sanctuary's website, was a calm and friendly lion.
According to ADI (Animal Defenders International), which has been moving rescued animals to sanctuaries for 21 years, this is the first time that they have recorded an incident of this magnitude and they are "devastated."
“This cowardly murder of two innocent souls, sweet, elderly lions, one of whom had suffered brain damage caused by blows to the head in the circus, must not go unpunished. The crime is being investigated by the South African police and anti-poaching units, ”they wrote in a statement.
In this way, the NGO also offers a reward for those who can contribute information about the case of the Emoya sanctuary and this sad outcome.
The Epoch Times