Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Guatemala circus rescue countdown

Posted: 11 July 2019. Updated: 2 August 2019

21 tigers and lions rescued by ADI, enforcing Guatemala’s circus ban, are counting down to a new life (pictured Itza and family in group hug). Our thanks to for pulling out all the stops to raise funds for the flights for 12 tigers and 6 lions, to the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa. Guatemala is probably the hottest place ADI has rescued animals, and now a very cold winter has arrived in South Africa. It is better for the animals, to wait for the warmer weather in October, and avoid a sudden temperature drop on arrival. Three other tigers will go to our friends at Big Cat Rescue in Florida (who are fully financing their rescue – thank you), once the US import permit is issued.

ATTEMPTED INVASION OF RESCUE CENTER: In May, problems with the location of the ADI Temporary Rescue Center (which ADI had objected to, at the outset), including dirt roads, ground too wet for our trucks and cages, water shortages, extreme heat and lack of phone signals, came to a head, when armed mobs twice tried to enter our compound. The team locked themselves in with the animals, and we are grateful to police and government officials for their support. We have police protection and there have been no further incidents, but it is essential that we move our animals and personnel to a safer location as soon as possible.

IN AUGUST WE HOPE TO MOVE THE TEMPORARY RESCUE CENTER to a secret location, closer to the airport, in readiness for the airlift. The cats can travel safely and comfortably in their night cages. For their flights, they must travel in regulation-size crates, and arrive at the airport several hours before the flight. Being closer to the city and the airport gives them a shorter journey on their travel day.

Conducting a large-scale rescue is always a huge challenge! We must set up temporary facilities while we get the animals fit for travel and await import and export permits. Our rescue crew arrives from several different countries and everyone must work away from home for many months. It has taken 9 months to get the animals from the circuses; they have all needed veterinary attention including urgent dental work and necessary export health procedures. The most long-drawn out task of all, is always securing import and export permits and completing enclosures in the new homes, to receive animals.

GREATER GOOD TO THE RESCUE: Our friends previously supported the airlift of our 33 ex-circus lions Peru and Colombia, and also finance care of our rescued bears, initially agreed to help ADI rescue 6 lions from circuses in Guatemala. Then, as we saved more animals, they committed to helping construct the 650,000sq.ft. Tiger Territory at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, AND to flying the 12 tigers home! EVERY PENNY THAT GREATER GOOD RAISE FOR THIS WILL COME TO ADI FOR THESE ANIMALS. Donate here.

You can find out more about the Guatemala rescue and donate directly to ADI here towards the relocation of the temporary rescue center and other rescue costs.

© Animal Defenders International 2019