Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Farewell Sarah

Posted: 29 January 2016. Updated: 29 February 2016

Our dear lioness Sarah, rescued by ADI from a Portuguese circus in 2007, has sadly passed away, after nine wonderful years of freedom back home in the African bush.

ADI first discovered Sarah in a stinking, rusting circus cage on the roadside in Portugal in 2006, along with lifelong companion Caesar and a tiger called Tarzan. Thanks to ADI supporters, we rescued them all and flew them to a new life in special enclosures in South Africa. Watch our Big Cat Rescue here

Sarah and Caesar adored each other and were rarely apart as they toured their large natural habitat with trees and termite mounds. As they ran, chased and played the thuds of their paws on the ground sounded like rolling thunder!


Tarzan sadly died in 2010. Last year, we noted that Caesar and Sarah had reached at least 16 years old and their hard life before the rescue was catching up with them. Caesar needs regular treatment for arthritis. However, the sudden death of Sarah from pyometra was a terrible shock she had been fit, happy and lively right to the end.

It is always so sad to lose one of the animals we have rescued and tragically, the abusive situations we save them from have often stolen the best years of their lives. But we believe every day of freedom is precious after what they have endured, and for Sarah, there were over 3,000 such days, under the African sun, with Caesar at her side.

Right now ADI is preparing to fly 33 lions rescued from circuses in South America, home to their native Africa. Please consider a donation in memory of Sarah to give these 33 lions the life she so loved.


The rescue left a legacy in Portugal. In 2004 and 2005 ADI investigators worked undercover in Portuguese circuses, securing shocking footage of abuse during training. The subsequent ADI campaign and public outcry led to the rescue of Sarah, Caesar and Tarzan, and in 2009 the Portuguese government announced a phase-out of wild animals in circuses; no breeding or acquisition of CITES listed species would be permitted. Such investigations providing crucial evidence and awareness campaigns are vital to securing permanent change Please help.

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