Reuniting the Guatemala animals

It seems hard to believe that only last week our rescued Guatemala animals arrived at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa! The last ten days have been a whirl of activity, settling in the animals, letting them become familiar with their new surroundings, and most importantly, reuniting them with their family.

Itza and his two sons Max and Stripes were the first tigers to be released on their arrival at the sanctuary, the boys soon finding one another and hunkering down together inside one of their shelters. A storm then prevented Bimbi, Lupe, and Sombra from being released.  The following morning, we put the three females into the night house attached to the family’s feeding camp. The plan: to attract the males back into the camp to greet the girls, and then gradually bring the family back together. It worked! All of the family knew where each other was and we could separate them for feeding – especially important as Bimbi, Lupe, and Sombra are all on medication for seizures.

Everything was calm and seemed to be going to plan. Food was placed for Itza, Max and Stripes just outside the feeding camp in their main habitat and the door opened. Once they were outside, food for the three females would then be placed in the feeding camp. Slowly Stripes stepped out, while Itza and Max stayed inside with the girls. Stripes ate a little, but knowing something was afoot, picked up a piece of meat, carried it into the feeding camp and then gave it to Itza and Max. He then repeated the procedure until Itza and Max had their share of food.  Outwitted, the tigers clearly making their own decision about how and where they would be fed, we released the females and once everyone had greeted one another, separated them for their feed and medicine.

Sisters from different litters, Luna and Jade and Sun and Moon are also now living and feeding together.  Jade, one of the friendliest of all the tigers, shared a bare circus cage with her sister Luna, as did Sun with Moon. At the sanctuary the girls will have acres of space with pools, platforms, trees, and lush long grass.

Our adoring lion couple Tarzan and Tanya have also been reunited and are now roaming a large natural habitat.  During their time in the circus Tarzan was attacked by a tiger and his lip was torn from his face – his drooping lip from the injuries inflicted has healed and does not seem to cause him distress but we will investigate reconstructive surgery in the coming year.  Shy and hiding in a corner when ADI first rescued him, before dental surgery Tarzan was in agony from damaged and infected teeth. The tiny Tanya – his protector – always at his side, patrolling and growling away anyone who came too close.  On the Operation Liberty flight, we placed Tarzan and Tanya’s travel crates carefully together to make sure they could see and smell each other. And now this loving couple are together again, their undying loyalty having carried them through the hardest of times.

Relocating the animals to their forever home has stretched us to the limit and beyond. The massive increase in relocation costs ($90,000) – due to the government’s deadline to remove the animals and therefore limited flight options – is hitting us hard. 

With our amazing supporters’ help, we brought these animals home to our place of loving kindness.

Can you help us provide the environment and care they need and could only dream of in the circus?

Donate US $ | Donate UK £

Adopt one of the Guatemala lions or tigers here.

Find out about our volunteer program here

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