Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Nine tigers and two more lions SAVED from circus in Guatemala!

Posted: 15 June 2018


Animal Defenders International (ADI) has rescued nine tigers and two more lions from circus suffering in Guatemala, as part of Operation Liberty, our mission to enforce the country’s new law banning the use of animals in circuses. The first three animals – lions Sasha, Nena, and Kimba – were rescued in May and are currently being cared for at the ADI Temporary Rescue Center.

Despite initially agreeing to voluntarily hand over the animals, the rescue operation at Circo Hermanos Ponce quickly turned sour, with the ADI rescue team enduring verbal abuse and intimidation, theft of their tools, and a circus worker repeatedly exposing himself. Tension came to a head when a circus worker lost his temper and beat and screamed at male tiger Kimba, leaving him with injuries to his mouth, a front paw, and a hind leg. ADI President Jan Creamer halted the operation following the outburst, requesting that police and officials keep the man from going near the animals again. The ADI veterinary team and government veterinarians concluded that Kimba was too distressed and needed to be sedated for his removal from the circus.

It was a long day, but lions Tarzan and Tanya, and tigers Sasha, Kumal, Jade, Luna, Sun, Moon, Max, Simba and Kimba are now safely in ADI’s care at the ADI Temporary Rescue Center. All animals will be given food, veterinary treatments, pools for the tigers, and toys for enrichment as we secure proper documentation and permits for their relocation, which is expected to take several months. Tigers Max, Simba, and Kimba will go to Big Cat Rescue, while the remaining animals will go to ADI’s new sanctuary in South Africa.

Watch a video of the animals’ removal from the circus.

Unfortunately, Circo Hermanos Ponce refused to hand over six of their 15 tigers. We vow to continue working with the police, Guatemalan wildlife department (CONAP) and agriculture ministry’s Animal Welfare Unit (UBA) to free the remaining animals.

Guatemala’s ban on the use of animals in circuses was passed in April 2017. ADI has been working with authorities to remove the animals following the ban coming into effect in April 2018 – we are raising funds to care for the animals at the Temporary Rescue Center, and rescue the ones that remain in the circus.

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