Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

21 lions & tigers in Guatemala take a step closer to a new life

Posted: 27 September 2019. Updated: 16 October 2019

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A new Temporary Rescue Center (TRC), better climate and closer to the airport, is up and running. The tigers and lions rescued from circuses by ADI, are safe. We have armed security. This is our launch pad for the final phase of the rescue, which will see 6 lions and 12 tigers heading to the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa, and 3 tigers to Big Cat Rescue in Florida.

Relocation took 30 hours – 12 trucks, a crane, police, security, officials and lawyers from government departments, and ADI. The original site, mandated by government and owned by a reptile facility, was too hot, too remote, badly laid out, and the access roads were not suitable for animals in travel crates. It was beset with problems and our team endured harassment and intimidation. We were forbidden from employing security guards to protect the animals even after a mob attempted to enter their area. The landowners blocked access to ADI personnel and tried to take control of the animals. For a while, they locked out ADI, officials and police. Misinformation and misleading photographs (eg of cages during cleaning) were fed to circuses and circulated on social media, to try to block the rescue. The landowners even took ADI’s fencing, gates, etc., which we had planned to use at the new TRC, as well as our volunteers’ personal possessions. We are pleased to be putting this chapter behind us, and taking another step towards the animals’ new lives.

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In similar rescues in Bolivia, Peru and Colombia, where we have rescued over 150 animals we did not experience this kind of behaviour. ADI’s track record is homing every single animal we take in, so we don’t give up.

A TRC is set up when ADI is removing large numbers of animals, for example from circuses in a new country. Here, ADI provides veterinary treatment, food and care, prepares them for new lives in sanctuaries abroad. Our freedom cages/night houses fit onto trucks, go into circuses, get animals, bring them back; these can be joined together to make more space and are attached to play areas. The animals get more space than they have ever known, enrichment such as hay, catnip, tires, essential oils, grass, pools. But the best is to come: At the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary the cats’ enclosures range from 55,000sqft to 650,00sqft.

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At the new TRC, we continue to get the animals ready for their new lives including veterinary work to keep health certificates for their travel up to date. We are awaiting final travel permits, are talking to air cargo companies about flights, and construction of their travel crates begins this month. The disruption has set back finances, and progress, but we are optimistic that we will be able to start flying animals to their new homes in November.

Please support this very challenging rescue. Even a small contribution such as price of a coffee makes a difference and goes towards food, care and veterinary treatment until the animals leave Guatemala.
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Our thanks to our animal protection partners ARCAS; to UBA–Guatemala Animal Welfare Division; CONAP; the police and the military, who have all helped to save these animals; Different Rhythm Foundation who sent a team when the old TRC was vulnerable; Big Cat Rescue, steadfast in their support for this important rescue. A massive thank you to GreaterGood.org who are currently raising funds for the flight to Africa for the lions and tigers.

© Animal Defenders International 2019