Long, gray cape shimmering in the sunlight, a male Hamadryas baboon sits perched upon a rock, lackadaisically chewing on a grass stalk and monitoring his harem. The females in his group are closely bonded to him, and they stay near to him with their youngsters in tow. Juveniles also play nearby, bouncing from spot to spot, grappling and chasing each other for hours at end. Night approaches, and his family joins up with other Hamadryas families, forming a safe clan that will sleep together until morning arrives.
Far away on an entirely different continent, another male baboon sits alone on the bare floor of a metal cage, helplessly pulling at the chain around his neck, listening to the loud noises surrounding his cage, uncertain about what will happen when night falls. Dubbed “Tilin,” this male Hamadryas baboon was born into captivity and raised in a South American circus.
A year ago, Tilin’s life experiences centered on the routines associated with being a circus performer. Most likely, he was unaware that his plight could ever change. However, a movement was underway in Bolivia, led by Animal Defenders International (ADI) and supported by the overwhelming majority of local residents. Designed to end the animal violence and confinement that was far too prevalent in South American circuses, this campaign represented the world’s first national ban on animal circuses. Due to the work of dedicated volunteers, benevolent supporters, and determined advocates, the ban was officially passed in June, 2009.
Tilin, along with four adult lions, were the first animals to be released from their involuntary servitude in the circus. Through the financial help of Bob Barker, ADI was able to build a new enclosure for Tilin and commit to funding care for all five of the animals for the rest of their lives.
Tilin is currently undergoing the process of being moved to the Lakeview Monkey Sanctuary in the U.K.
The first step was to release him from his confinement chains. Watch this happen below:
You can also watch the rest of Tilin’s journey unfold by clicking here to visit his ADI Rescue Diary. Although not yet complete, Tilin’s tale will have a happy ending. Now a healthy and active baboon, Tilin will spend his days at a primate sanctuary where he may have a chance to meet other baboons and will no longer be made to work for a living. Regular care and attention will undoubtedly be lavished on this handsome male.