Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Give the purr-fect Valentine’s — care for three big cat couples saved from abuse

Posted: 13 February 2020. Updated: 13 February 2020

Rescued from a life of circus suffering by Animal Defenders International (ADI), three big cat couples available for adoption will be enjoying their first Valentine’s Day at a place of loving kindness, the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary (ADIWS) in South Africa.

Rescued lions Tarzan and Tanya and tigers Sasha and Kumal were saved by ADI from the same circus in Guatemala, while the nonprofit was assisting the authorities with enforcement of the country’s animal circus ban. A total of 21 big cats were rescued during the Operation Liberty mission, and all can be adopted through ADI.

Despite her diminutive stature, eight-year-old Tanya can more than stand up for herself and nine-year-old Tarzan. The scars on her face are believed to be from trying to defend her partner as he was being injured in a fight with a tiger in the circus. As his protector, Tanya never strays too far from Tarzan, and in return he provides her with lots of loving attention – and head washes! A recent video of the loved-up cats, taken at the ADI Temporary Rescue Center in Guatemala before they went home to the ADIWS, went viral on social media, notching up almost a million views.

A far cry from their former life behind bars in the circus, five-year-olds Sasha and Kumal now live in a natural grassland habitat with native trees and bushes, platforms and dens, and other enrichment including pools to soak in. When the doting duo aren’t having fun and playing together – their tire swing a huge favorite – Sasha and Kumal can be found chilling out in the pool or cuddled up together asleep.

Leo and Muñeca were rescued during ADI’s previous Spirit of Freedom mission to enforce a wild animal circus ban in Peru. Among the first residents to arrive at the ADIWS last year, along with their grown-up children Kiara, Africa, Rolex, Coco, and Chino, the family was saved in two separate raids. The golden couple, who are approaching 17 years of age, have their very own love nest at the sanctuary and can often be found beneath their favorite tree. Despite their age, Leo and Muñeca haven’t lost their sense of adventure and love to explore their habitat. Like Tarzan, Leo has required extensive dental surgery to repair his smashed, damaged teeth, but in his forever home with his Muñeca he has plenty to smile about.

Jan Creamer, President of ADI, said, “After years of suffering in the circus, our rescued big cat couples can now enjoy the rest of their lives, together, at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary. Through the gift of adoption, you can share the love this Valentine’s and help provide the care these animals need.”

To adopt one of the couples as a gift, and help support their care:
Adopt Tarzan and Tanya
Adopt Sasha and Kumal
Adopt Leo and Muñeca

To find out more about the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, and ways you can help here.

Media contact:
Lesley McCave, ADI Communications Director: (323) 935-2234, (323) 804-9920, or

© Animal Defenders International 2020