Large wild cats don't belong in zoos, much less in tight cages with concrete floors.
And perhaps, that's why it's so heartwarming to see these lions get a second chance in life.
In October 2015, five lions were rescued from a shut-down zoo in Romania. They were born in Italy in 2003, but were moved for one purpose: to entertain zoo-goers.
However, the big cats were given a chance to taste freedom, thanks to Four Paws International, an animal welfare organization that helps abused animals.
"A zoo was closed down and the five lions didn't have anywhere to go," said Iona Dugler, director of Wild Animals at Four Paws.
Thankfully, the organization heard about the situation and freed the animals from the small, cramped cages that had been their home for too long.
The years in their cages left the lions in bad shape.
"The veterinarian that took care of them didn't want to give up and didn't accept the possibility that these animals will be put to sleep," says Iona Dugler.
Four Paws transported the lions 15,000 miles (12,337 km) to their new home at the Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa, where they now have thousands of acres of tall grass to roam.
The lions joined 80 other big cats that have been rescued from terrible living conditions around the world.
In addition to all that space to run and explore, the lions also have regular medical check-ups and eat nutritious food that should ensure they live long, healthy lives.
The video below shows the teamwork that was required to transport the lions to their new home.
Watch carefully when the lions finally get to feel grass under their paws, smell fresh African air, and enjoy their first day under the hot South Africans sun!
After decades of living behind iron bars in small, dirty cages, the lions finally got to experience life in their natural environment.
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