Circus Lion Reacts To Having Earth Beneath His Feet For First Time, Caged For 13 Years [Video]

A viral video features a circus lion’s reaction to feeling earth beneath his feet for the first time. The lion named Will lived in a cramped cage for 13 years, forced to perform tricks in a traveling circus. However, he was rescued by Rancho dos Gnomos Santuário in Brazil and finally released into an enclosure with grass, dirt, and soil. The organization filmed the lion as he rubbed his paws through the dirt and pounced about the grass. The lion’s reaction to this “foreign material” was heart-warming and has been viewed nearly 900,000 times.

The viral video was uploaded to Youtube on May 14, 2015 and was an immediate sensation. Though the video was recorded in 2006, this is the first time it has been released to the public. The video features a lion named Will who was held in a tiny cage by a traveling circus for 13 years before being rescued by the Rancho dos Gnomos Santuário. Unfortunately, the giant cat had never stepped foot on grass as he was kept in a tiny cage and performed on a concrete surface.

Therefore, when Will was released into an enclosure of soil, dirt and grass, he immediately can be seen pawing at the “foreign material” and jumping happily through the soft grass. Marcos Pompeo, who founded the sanctuary that saved Will, notes that the lion passed away in 2011 but got to spend his final five years in tranquility with other lions.

“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.”

Eco Watch notes that other lions face a similar plight as Will and that fewer than 21,000 of the large cats remain in Africa due to poaching and habitat destruction. In fact, the situation for lions is becoming increasingly critical as some species of lions could become extinct by 2020 if nothing is done to protect the animals.

[Image Credit: Youtube]