Farewell Zeus

It is with great sadness that we bring you the news we all feared, we have had to let Zeus go peacefully. Zeus had been in hospital for more than a week as Dr Peter Caldwell worked to find a way to alleviate the incurable spondylitis and irreversible degenerative neuropathy, causing the 16-year old lion to lose the use of his hind legs.

The problems are a result of his suffering in the circus and first identified in 2017 when Zeus was hospitalized.

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Bolillo is home from hospital

Bolillo returned from hospital to the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary yesterday with a new treatment regime for his arthritis and is moving around Augie Habitat more comfortably. Bolillo was rescued from a circus in Colombia seven years ago, where he and another lion had lived in a space the size of a queen-sized bed for almost a decade. With poor food, no exercise and living on urine-soaked boards, little wonder arthritis and other ailments catch up with these lions in later life.

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Two senior lions in hospital

Please send your love to Colombian boys Bolillo and Zeus from the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary who are currently in Dr Peter Caldwell’s hospital under observation. The 16-year old lions were rescued by ADI from the same circus in Colombia seven years ago, where they suffered appalling conditions. This year, the past seems to be catching up with several of the lions we saved in Colombia.

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Fighting fires keeping our animals safe

Last month saw a surge in wildfires in our region, and the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary team raced out to help fight them.

The most serious incident occurred in early September, when at 11.30am on a Saturday morning, Trevor, ADIWS Head of Security and local FireWatch, alerted everyone: “Huge fire approaching from the north, being pushed by wind towards our district…. It’s about 45km away…. Ensure all firefighting equipment are in order and ready.”

Trevor headed to the frontline to join others fighting the fire and kept us updated.

As half the Sanctuary team filled our firefighters, the other half began luring our lion and tiger residents into their night houses and feeding camps (their places of safety) while soaking the grass around them. This is where we keep the grass cut short, surrounding our residents with fire breaks.

Meanwhile, the fire was blazing through part of a local nature reserve, with the wind driving it across roads; it kept moving, and fast. With the fire 20km from the Sanctuary, at 1.30pm, Trevor instructed the team: “As soon as it approaches we need to fight the fire before it reaches the perimeter fences… please just control emotions, we need to stay calm and focus.”

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Rolex’s poorly paw

Dr Peter Caldwell treated Rolex at the ADI Wildlife sanctuary for a cut on his paw last month, and Rolex (one of our Peru circus rescues) was soon back on his feet. Dr Caldwell will be back for his monthly check on all of the animals at the Sanctuary soon. Although in our picture it does look like Scarc is the one checking out Dr Caldwell and his team as much as the other way round!

All our circus survivors were rescued from horrendous conditions, and the malnutrition, physical abuse, and inbreeding can take its toll later in life. The lions and tigers we rescued from circuses in Guatemala have been especially prone to a range of health issues. Several of our lions rescued from Colombia and Peru are now in their senior years and facing challenges, while others, like Rolex, get a few bumps and scrapes from charging around the African landscape.

Please support our ADI Wildlife Sanctuary veterinary care.

Lion and tiger football fun at ADI Wildlife Sanctuary

For some weekend fun, see our new video of lions and tigers at the ADIWS playing with their new footballs!

All animals are curious and enjoy new experiences and exploring their environment. Like us, exercising their intelligence and senses is important to their wellbeing. And the science now confirms what we all knew – non-human animals feel joy, pleasure, pain and fear much as we do. Knowing this, once we rescue our lions, tigers and other animals from circuses, we give them the largest possible natural habitats with space to run and lie in the sun (or soak in the pool if you are a tiger). But we are conscious that although the wildlife in their habitats is very entertaining, they still need new things to interest and engage them – this the reason we give them random objects like cardboard boxes with catnip/hay, pumpkins, melons and towers of hay bales to destroy. We are always looking for new toys to introduce. 

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Leo back in the bush on the road to recovery

It has really been business as normal for Leo since his return to the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary following surgery to remove an eye due to a cataract which had become inflamed.  It was feared Leo might lose his sight when we first rescued him from a circus in Peru, because his eyes were in such poor condition. However, thanks to the right care, that was over seven years ago.  Leo, who is 17 or 18 years old, is recovering well, back with his companion Muñeca, and walking about the enclosure as if nothing has happened.

The animals at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary have nearly all been rescued from abusive conditions in circuses in Peru, Colombia and Guatemala. Our thanks to everyone who supports the veterinary care necessary to address these challenges.

Farewell Shakira and Sombra

We are heartbroken to bring the news that Shakira and Sombra have passed away, finally overcome by the health problems resulting from their suffering in circuses.  As devastated as we are, it is also a reminder of just how precious every day of freedom we can give these animals is. 

Animal Care Manager, Hadio, noticed that sweet lioness Shakira (from Colombia, sister of Easy), had a lump in her front armpit area and she was immediately taken to hospital. Dr Caldwell said it could not have been spotted sooner and we were optimistic because last year Shakira had x-rays and ultrasound for a chest infection, which showed no problems.  We felt it had been spotted quickly and she was prepared for surgery.  Our hopes were dashed. Tests showed a fast growing, aggressive cancer which had spread to her chest, lungs and elsewhere, nothing could be done for her. It was time to say goodbye. Shakira had been with us since we rescued her from a circus in Colombia in 2014.

Then, another blow. Sombra has passed away following heart failure. Vitamin deficiencies as cubs and inbreeding had left three of the tigers we rescued in Guatemala in 2018 with skull, nerve, and spine malformations. The tigresses have had multiple hospital visits, MRIs, various medications and health supplements since we took them from the circus, as we fought to break them free of the effects of their previous life. Bimbi passed away earlier this year and now, sadly, her sister has followed her.   

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Winter warmers for lions and tigers

We are now in the middle of winter at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary (ADIWS) in South Africa, the coldest time of year.  The coming weeks are expected to be particularly cold and the ADIWS team responded bringing in over 300 extra bales for added insulation.  We provide a home for lions and tigers rescued from a life of suffering and abuse around the world.  While they love basking in the sunshine and patrolling their habitats by day, the nights can be cold for these battered old warriors that have had the worst possible start in life. 

Some endured more than a decade confined in tiny circus cages, lacking exercise, lying in excrement and urine, and malnourished.  At ADIWS we pick up the pieces dealing with arthritis, spine problems and other health issues.  That’s why the houses attached to their main habitats have rooms for treatment and observation and to provide a warm place to sleep.  We have heated floors in three houses for senior lions – like Simba who was left with terrible arthritis after life in a circus in Peru.  Now we want to add heat lamps to more of the houses for our lions and tigers to keep them snug at night as they approach their senior years.

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Leo is home with Muñeca.

Leo is back at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary after a spell in hospital. Our old warrior looked very much his old self, as he checked out his feeding camp and house and was then reunited with Muñeca, before they headed out into their Abbey Habitat together. Leo is coping well having had an eye removed by veterinarian Dr Peter Caldwell. His spatial awareness and ability to find his way around seem unimpaired.

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