Animal Defenders International (ADI), a global non-profit animal organisation, is set on rescuing five tigers and 12 lions from circuses in Guatemala, a central american country south of Mexico, and bring them to their ADI Wildlife Sanctuary (ADIWS) in South Africa this year.
The organisation has not penned down an exact date yet, but organisers hope to rescue the cats sooner rather than later.
Banning the use of wild animals in circuses
After banning the use of wild animals in circuses in 2017, the government of Guatemala invited ADI to help enforce the law.
With the London-based organisation successfully completing similar missions in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru, ADI sprang into action.
After launching Operation Liberty in May 2018, ADI quickly established a temporary rescue centre in the country to care for the rescued animals until they could be relocated to their forever homes.
This resulted in tigers Kimba, Max, and Simba being recued from the Circo Hermanos Ponce circus along with two lions and six other tigers in June 2018. This came after the circus had agreed to voluntarily surrender the animals after a tense, daylong operation. The circus initially refused to hand over six of their 15 tigers.
Finding a forever home for circus tigers Kimba, Max and Simba
When ADI rescued tigers Max, Kimba, and Simba from the Ponce circus, the race was on to find their forever home.
Big Cat Rescue in Florida stepped up, pledging to sponsor the rescue of these three tigers, covering the costs of their food and care at the ADI temporary rescue centre and their flight out of Guatemala.
Here they now enjoy their own spacious, natural enclosure with a freshwater pool for swimming, trees, soft grass, foliage, dens, and large platforms. They have the best medical and dental care and nutrition, as well as mentally stimulating and fun enrichment treats at least twice a week.
“Big Cat Rescue is thrilled to become the permanent forever home for these three former Guatemalan circus tigers, ” said Big Cat Rescue Founder and CEO Carole Baskin. “Big cats should not be forced to perform tricks and unnatural behaviors in circuses. We applaud Guatemala for banning wild animals in circuses and look forward to the day when all countries have ended this cruel, inhumane practice.”
ADI has rescued a total of 15 tigers and six lions during its Operation Liberty mission, including the remaining six tigers from Circo Hermanos Ponce, who were removed from a junkyard where they had been living in November 2018. At ADI’s temporary rescue centre, all of the animals have received veterinary care and even some emergency treatment.
Aside from Max, Kimba, and Simba, the other big cats will be relocated to the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa, already home to 25 lions rescued by ADI from circuses in Peru and Colombia.
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