Farewell, Bolillo

It is with great sadness that we report that dear Bolillo has passed away.  Like many of our circus survivors, almost a decade in a tiny circus cage, enduring abuse and poor nutrition in Colombia, took its toll on this senior lion. In October, after his last hospitalization, Bolillo was on palliative care for his arthritis and failing kidneys – we kept him comfortable as possible in his African home.  He continued to enjoy life, slowly pottering around Augie Habitat dozing under the trees.  Then in the past week Bolillo retreated to the safety of his house, venturing out only to bask in the sunshine, his appetite failing. He was clearly unhappy and uncomfortable and it was becoming hard to entice him to even take his medication treats. Dr Caldwell came to see him and under anaesthetic, discovered in addition to his deteriorating bones and kidneys, Bolillo had a large stomach tumour.  It was time to do the kindest thing for him (and the toughest for us) and say goodbye to our elderly trooper.

With his spectacular mane, Bolillo had the air of a high court judge. He came across as an old-fashioned gentleman. He was one of our Colombian pride of nine, rescued over seven and a half years ago and taken into our temporary rescue center in Bucaramanga.  The pictures of the lions in their circus cages were haunting; they looked completely broken and were some of the most heartbreaking we have seen. Released from the circus and in ADI’s care, they regained their spirits and love of life and finally, we returned them to the land of their forefathers Africa.  

When ADI rescues large numbers of animals from a circus the beatings, horrific conditions, poor food, in-breeding and lack of veterinary care, we know that early suffering will likely begin to catch up with them in later life.  This has been the case over the past 18 months with the loss of several senior members of the Colombian pride. Although their lives have been shortened by circus life, it is a comfort that they got to live and roar as lions should.

So, although we are heartbroken to say “goodbye”, we celebrate his great escape from the circus and those years under the African sun.  Farewell Bolillo, it was an honour to know you and a privilege to care for you.

Thank you to everyone who helped give this lion those precious years of freedom and living as a lion should.  Please continue to support the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary and give others like our beloved Bolillo a new life.  

Habitat expansion for our lions and tigers

350,000sq.ft lion and tiger habitat expansion is underway at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary and should be completed in February or March. This will provide more space for the Guatemala lions and for tigers who now need their own habitats due to health issues.

The tiger territory work began this month, thanks to the support of Dr. April Fong of MaxiPro (Asia) Ltd., and ADIWS founder Dr. Lo Sprague. When complete the territory will have five main habitats, five smaller feeding camps and four double tiger houses. The largest section (over 5 acres) will become home to Luna, Jade, Sun and Moon (Spice Girls) and is named Kakato by Dr. April Fong. Dr. Sprague will be naming two habitats.

ADIWS founder Dr. Betsy Coville has funded two more lion habitats, bringing her sponsorship to seven beautiful homes for lions!  Named after her lifelong rescued dogs and cats, the habitats are called Camo, Augie, Abbey, Davis, Sam&Eric, Jacque and Avi! The road that connects these is called ‘Coville Lane’.

This sponsorship covers the single biggest cost of the habitats – the fencing, at $20,000 per 2.5 acres. On Giving Tuesday, supporters raised the funds to build a house for Tarzan and Tanya in Jacque Habitat, and Trees for Tigers USA are sponsoring the trees for all of the new habitats. So, we need to raise funds now for a lion house in Avi habitat, along with water supply and platforms.

Make their season merry and bright

The rescued lions and tigers at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary are already tearing open Christmas presents – brightly wrapped boxes stuffed with hay and catnip and watermelons – thanks to ADI supporters. Enrichment like this is fun and serves a serious purpose, keeping the animals engaged mentally and physically – something our circus survivors never got to enjoy before their rescue. A huge thank you to Annabella Guiette for kickstarting our holiday appeal with treats for the lions and tigers. Watch out for our video on Christmas of all the fun.

Can you help keep the festivities going?

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GivingTuesday goal met!

Tanya is jumping for joy! Thanks to you, we’ve raised enough funds for the main building of the night house for Tarzan and Tanya. This includes the foundation, walls, roof, two drop doors for Tarzan and Tanya to go in and out, and a human door to go in and clean, etc. We also raised enough to cover the plastering and painting inside, the rooms to enable hospitalization, separation for feeding, and protected introductions of animals, and the solar powered heater! That’s $12,209.44/ £9,168.92 of our GivingTuesday goal of $11,845/ £8,574.

These lifelong companions were rescued from a Guatemalan circus, where they were confined to a tiny, desolate cage and deprived of everything natural to them. Since their epic journey from Guatemala, the inseparable pair have been residing in the introduction habitat at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa. With your help, we can move them to a new and bigger habitat with more space than they’ve ever known, which is why we first need to build a night house.

Help build a night house for lion couple saved from circus suffering

Our ex-circus survivors had the worst possible start in life. Lions Tarzan and Tanya, like so many of them, endured years confined in a tiny circus cage in appalling conditions, lacking exercise, and malnourished. They were rescued by ADI from a Guatemalan circus, and they still bear the marks of their cruel past. Tarzan’s torn lower lip is from a fight with a tiger in the circus, and Tanya’s scars are from defending him. 

At the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, we pick up the pieces of our battered lions and tigers, many of whom deal with arthritis, spine problems, and other health issues. That’s why night houses attached to their main habitats have rooms for treatment and observation and provide a warm place to sleep – all essential to their health and wellbeing.

This GivingTuesday, November 30 – the world’s biggest day of generosity – can you donate to help build a night house for our devoted couple Tarzan and Tanya? They are currently in our introduction habitat and we want to move them to a new and bigger habitat. You can donate through our dedicated donate page (for the UK click here) or our GivingTuesday Facebook fundraiser

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Happy Halloween for rescued lions and tigers

Life used to be just about tricks for these circus survivors and now it’s only TREATS! This week our lions and tigers at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary enjoyed pumpkin treats sponsored by supporters of ADI. As well as giving the animals a lot of fun, treats help satisfy their inquisitive and exploring nature, always looking for the new, so helps them to be physically and mentally active. Have a great Halloween weekend.

Help keep the fun going.

Our big cats want to go trick-or-treating this Halloween

Although our lions and tigers have huge habitats to roam and other important enrichment like catnip and hay boxes, tires and other toys, pumpkins are always an extra special treat. Look at all the fun they had last year! Help them make up for all those years in the circus where they lived in tiny, miserable cages with nothing to interest or engage them.

Can you sponsor a pumpkin for Halloween? Just £1.50 / $2 buys a pumpkin and a whole lot of fun for a lion or tiger. Let’s see if we can raise enough to keep them playing for the rest of the year! Follow our social media posts to see what the lions and tigers get up to.

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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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