Farewell, Bimbi

We are heartbroken at the loss of one of our Guatemala circus survivors, tigress Bimbi. We met Bimbi in June 2018, when we removed nine tigers and two lions from Circo Ponce in Guatemala. The circus had managed to block the removal of Bimbi and five other tigers, and later hid them in a junkyard. We caught up with them in November, and rescued Bimbi and the rest of her family.  

There is always huge joy and excitement when we get animals out of the circus. But our joy was nothing compared to the excitement of Bimbi and her family as they ran on grass for the first time, splashed in the pool (more or less emptying it and creating a mud bath on the edges), and generally caused mayhem in their enclosures at the ADI Temporary Rescue Unit in Guatemala. 

A year later, after long drawn-out import and export arrangements, we flew Bimbi and her family to a new life at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary (ADIWS) in South Africa. More space than they had ever seen. More peace than they had ever known. 

Sweet Bimbi had been born in a bare, cramped circus cage, her life full of fear and stress, living on a diet of chicken feet. Malnourished, abused, always afraid. In the end, it is the inbreeding and malnourishment which caused the most damage. 

Bimbi and her sisters suffered from seizures caused by skull and bone problems due to vitamin deficiency, especially vitamin A. They had been receiving extra vitamins, especially vitamin A, and medication for their seizures while in ADI’s care and also, at ADIWS. The seizures stopped and they have been enjoying life.

Then, just over a week ago, Bimbi became unsteady and was taken into hospital – an MRI found a large growth in her brain, and along her spine. Her brain showed many lesions from the seizures, too much damage for neurological treatment and if Bimbi had been a human, she would have become quadriplegic. 

Although we wish there had been more time, it is thanks to ADI supporters that Bimbi had two and a half years in ADI’s care and her life was full of fun. She got to run for the first time, chase wildlife, sleep in the sun or in the pool, and play hard with her sisters, catnip boxes, pumpkins, and melons. 

Her life was too short, but you gave her the greatest gift of all – the freedom to choose where she wanted to be, what she wanted to do, and never, ever afraid. Thank you. 

Bimbi’s sisters Sombra and Lupe will be given more vitamin supplements and we have already requested that our vet arrange for both to have an MRI to check for similar problems, so they can have the best possible treatment.  Please help us continue to give these precious survivors something of the life they lost when their families were originally taken from the wild.

All their health problems have been caused by humans – help us to give back the best life we can.

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