Tuesday 01 February 2022 | 45

The last years of Jon the lion, discovering a taste for a life out of the circus

The last years of Jon the lion, discovering a taste for a life out of the circus

Mis à jour le 08 June 2022

Everything happened really quickly. We heard some tragic news on the evening of Monday 31 January. Jon died at the Tonga Terre d’Accueil refuge on Saturday 29 January 2022, almost two years after we had saved him and removed him from Cirque de Paris trainer Steve Gougeon’s lorry. Far away from being whipped, far from life on the road, and under our protection, this lion with a ruined mane, who was skin and bone, de-clawed and had canine teeth that were ground down, had regained his strength. We were waiting for the green light of justice to take him to a sanctuary in Italy.

Hr blog

On Wednesday 26 January 2022, Jon started refusing to eat... the autopsy revealed that he had serious intestinal problems, but at that time it was impossible to know this. He died in barely three days, without letting the severity of his condition show, surrounded by love, far from the circus lorry where he had been deprived of food to the point he was only a shadow of himself.

A golden early retirement

He would have spent almost two years away from his torturers, in the presence of Patty, Marli, Céleste, and Hannah, to make the most of the joy of the grass under his de-clawed paws, of the games given to them, and above all, of the protection from exploitation. Without our intervention after months of enquiries and of following the circus, he would have been dead in the cage-lorry.

Since arriving, he had surprised and reassured us all with his incredible weight gain, putting on 70 kilograms in a month and having gone from 107 kilograms four days after his arrival, with his ribs visible under the skin, to being a lion in good health weighing between 150 and 200 kilograms. At the refuge, he had finally been treated and was enjoying life in his well-deserved retirement.

Muriel Arnal, Founding President of One Voice, who is very moved by the sudden loss of Jon stated:

« Only a few more weeks and Jon would have discovered the park that was waiting for him. We had already imagined him basking in the shade of the trees in the mild Tuscan nights. Our only consolation is knowing that he had been treated, treasured, and fed like he never had been before. He had become a real mischievous and confident lion. Jon had no documents; a lion with his identification would have ended up at the taxidermist! What are authorities waiting for to make laws apply to circus animals? »


Waiting on justice’s green light

We were awaiting the final decision from the prosecutor to see if we could send him to the sanctuary in Italy where we had been assured that five spaces were awaiting him and his four companions, for a semi-free life. The transfer had been set for May.

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

Julia Mothé
Hr blog

In the subject

The fight for the lions at the Nouveau Cirque Triomphe continues in Grenoble Animal defenders threatened with knives, insulted, and hit by the Muller Circus.

Comments 45

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

Jane Marshall | Tuesday 21 November 2023

Et dire que des gens vont voir dans les cirques tous ces pauvres animaux torturés alors que ce qu'ils vivent est connu ! Qu'est-ce qu'ils ont à la place du cœur ? Pauvre petit Jon ! Mal nourrit, maltraité dans tous les sens du terme ! Sans compter tous ceux qui y sont encore pour subir mille martyrs ! J'ai honte de mon espèce, une "honte" sans nom car il n'y a pas de mot pour dire ce que je ressens !!!
Je n'ai jamais mis les pieds dans un cirque, parce que je ne supporte pas de voir des animaux en cage, privés de leur liberté, privés de leur vie ! Et j'en suis fière !

Chris | Friday 04 March 2022

Pourquoi tant de lenteur administrative ? J'espère qu'un jour, pas trop lointain, l'espèce humaine ressentira plus d'empathie envers tous les animaux, qui ont le droit de vivre sur cette planète sans être exploités.

Sab | Saturday 12 February 2022

Ayant parrainé les 3 lionnes vivant au côté de Jon, je suis très émue par cette nouvelle. Il m'aura fallu quelques jours pour te dire REPOSE EN PAIX...
Bravo et tout mon respect à toutes les personnes qui se mobilisent pour les animaux ❤ on ne lâche rien on continue 👍

sarah | Wednesday 09 February 2022

Quel déchirement et quelle vie de misère pour ce lion et bien d'autres encore!
Espérons que les choses changent "pour eux".