After 13 years as a circus lion, his paws feel grass for the first time ever

Of the nearly 200 countries on earth, only 19 prohibit circuses from keeping wild animals, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Sad to say, the United States is one of the nations that still allows them.

A lion named Will spent 13 long years in a traveling circus in Brazil. When he wasn’t performing tricks for the audience, he was living in a small cage and had no idea what a normal lion’s life was like — in other words, the life he should have been living. At long last, Will was rescued, liberated from his living nightmare.

Will was taken to the Rancho dos Gnomos Santuario, an animal sanctuary located near Sao Paulo. They have more than 300 animals in residence, including jaguars, sloths, deer, parrots, monkeys, otters, dogs, cats, and of course, lions. In addition to caring for animals, the facility is also involved educational outreach programs. As you’ll see in the video posted below, Will was very happy when he was released into his new home at the sanctuary.

He didn’t even have to pause to figure things out; he instantly started frolicking, enjoying the feel of dirt and grass beneath his feet for the first time in his life. No more cages, lion tamers, or boisterous audiences! One thing that’s really striking is how much some of his behavior resembles a house cat’s.

The video of the first day of the rest of Will’s life was made back in 2006. He died of old age five years later, but those were five years in which he really got to live. As Marcos Pompeo, the sanctuary’s founder said, “He had five years of tranquility before he died. Here he had the opportunity to interact with other lions. He loved to lie in grass and look at the sky. He was a very happy lion.”

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