Two endangered African lionesses now call Colorado home, upon being rescued from a roadside zoo in Iowa, and taken to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg in order to live a better life.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund originally sued Iowa's Cricket Hollow Zoo in late July, alleging that the zoo confined the lions into small enclosures that were strewn with fly-laden meat and feces, and additionally said that the animals' treatment violated the

Jonwah/ Courtesy of the Wildlife Sanctuary

Endangered Species Act. The animal rights group presented further evidence to a judge, which showed “grave concerns” regarding the lionesses’ conditions. The judge allowed the large felines, Jonwah,16, and Njjarra,18, to be examined by a qualified veterinarian, who was able to determine that they both were in pretty rough shape and had serious medical issues needing immediate attention. The Animal Legal Defense Fund reached a settlement with Cricket Hollow Zoo on August 1, resulting in Jonwah and Njjarra being removed and brought to the Wild Animal Sanctuary just a few days later. This marks the second case the Animal Legal Defense Fund has won against the Cricket Hollow Zoo under the Endangered Species Act.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the largest non-profit carnivore refuge in the world, with over 400 rescued lions, tigers, bears, wolves, leopards and other carnivores living in large acreage natural habitats. Abused, abandoned and confiscated carnivores are brought here so they can receive rehabilitation until they are well enough to roam freely on the premises. Jonwah and Njjarra will need to fully recover from their medical problems before they can join the other lions in the large acreage habitats, but at least they are already living a far better life than they were in the zoo.