May 9 - They may not have been particularly heavy nor out-of-gauge, but 33 rescued former circus lions are now in a place of safety following some good work by The Charter Store and Priority Worldwide Services.
The 33 lions from Colombia and Peru were flown on a chartered MD-11 aircraft to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa on the last leg of a 8,000 mile (12,875 km) relocation journey that began in South America.
Destined for the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, a five-hour truck ride brought a successful end to what began half a world away and ended in a roar - literally.
Procured by freight forwarder Priority Worldwide Services on behalf of Animal Defenders International, this multi-stop trek originated in Bogota, Colombia with an initial manifest of nine of the felines. The next port of call was Lima, Peru where an additional 24 of the big cats were welcomed on board for the 15-hour flight to the African continent.
The Charter Store co-founder Rusty Durden described the scene in Bogata: "The warehouse walls were literally shaking as were naturally the ground team. Nine lions roaring at once is pretty intimidating. I can't imagine the sound of 33 of them on the aircraft!"