Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Background: The tragic story of Maiza

Posted: 7 July 2010. Updated: 15 October 2015


As negotiations to get the CITES export permits were reaching their conclusion, the team in Cochabamba reported that Maiza, the oldest lioness of the group, was ill.

The animal carers noticed a sudden drop in Maiza’s condition, so the local veterinary surgeon, Nathalie Quintin, was called in to attend her. Video and photographs were quickly sent to Dr. Richardson in the US, while arrangements were made for Dr Fernandez of La Paz Zoo to fly immediately to Cochabamba to make a preliminary examination and discuss his findings. Various drugs were given to alleviate symptoms and fight infection, pending further examination.

The Background to the Release

Read more on the remarkable journey of how these four ex-circus lions arrived in California after a life in the circus:

The veterinary surgeons agreed that further investigation with specialised equipment was necessary, and arrangements were made for Dr Fernandez to bring the equipment to Cochabamba and for Dr Richardson and Dr Quintin to join him to carry out the examination and tests. Following this examination and analysis, the three veterinary experts caring for her agreed that the most humane course of action was to put Maiza out of her suffering.

Maiza’s death so close to her relocation was heartbreaking. We had worked so hard and pushed so hard to get her to freedom. After treating her as best they could, and deciding that it was a kindness to put her out of her suffering, the veterinary team also told us that a condition like this can arise so suddenly and with such severity, that they could not be sure that it would not have happened anyway, even if she had been in California. It is a comfort to know that poor Maiza was treated with love and respect at the end of her days by people who cared about her, and when her time came, it was carried out with kindness.

However, this tragedy pushed us to work even harder, to ensure the rest of her family got to the paradise that is the PAWS sanctuary in California.

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