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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Sombra is home

After an extended stay in hospital following a seizure, Sombra is back at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary and got a wonderful greeting from sister Lupe. Sombra was released from her travel crate into one of the rooms in her house while Lupe waited eagerly in the adjoining room. They went straight to the metal grill door between the rooms, nuzzling each other and chuffing loudly. We then let them back in together and they have not left each other’s side since, curling up together under the platform. 

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Sombra relaxing in hospital after seizure scare

The ADI Wildlife Sanctuary team leapt into action when Sombra appeared to have had a seizure.  Slightly unsteady on her feet she was enticed into a travel crate and our veterinarian Dr Caldwell, arranged an MRI to check her brain. GOOD NEWS: Sombra’s MRI is clear of seizure damage, but she has been put on seizure medication and will have to be monitored. 

THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF CIRCUS SUFFERING:  The poor circus diet fed to this tiger family lacked important vitamins – this, and inbreeding, resulted in poor development as cubs, so the nerves at the base of their skulls are restricted. This causes the seizures. Tragically, this led to dear Bimbi passing away. It’s a relief that Sombra’s MRI did not reveal the same level of damage as Bimbi. In daughters Jade and Luna, the problem shows in their unnatural gait on their front legs. 

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Help complete Itza’s tiger house for Father’s Day

Help with the perfect Father’s Day gift for Itza. The rescued lions and tigers love their large natural habitats to explore, play in and disappear from sight. However, our lion and tiger houses provide more than a warm place to sleep, they enable us to hospitalise, monitor and treat sick animals, or to simply separate animals at feeding time.

Iron is currently test driving the rooms in his house and once we know everything is working perfectly, we will be moving in Bolillo to begin their reintroduction process with protected contact (Iron and Bolillo knew each other in the circus). The rooms are connected by mesh drop gates, there are chute feeders for safe feeding, water troughs, and access doors for cleaning.

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OUR YEAR

The changing seasons and life month by month for the rescued lions, tigers and other animals at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, South Africa.  Saved by Animal Defenders International from horrific suffering in circuses this is the beautiful world enjoyed by our circus survivors now.

Lioness Sasha’s recovery fun

Catnip boxes, melons, pumpkins, logs, and a swing keep Sasha entertained at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, South Africa (ADIWS) – all of which she enjoys after major surgery on her leg.

There is probably no better character to illustrate our work than indomitable lioness, Sasha. We found her in her circus cage in Guatemala, clearly in pain and limping badly. X-rays at the ADI Temporary Rescue Unit in Guatemala revealed a brutal declawing operation had resulted in a toe being crushed, instead of cut off as the circus owners intended. In our field hospital, the toe was amputated but we discovered disease had spread up her leg – she needed specialist help. After Sasha had settled in at ADIWS, she was taken to Dr Peter Caldwell, who removed 8cm of damaged bone and replaced it with a titanium scaffold and bone cement.

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Jade the top cat

Jade is the smallest of the tigers at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, and she’s one of the naughtiest! But she’s beloved by her sisters who she regularly leads into mischief. Distinct because of the tail she lost in the circus, Jade leads the gang into demolition romps.

When ADI rescued sisters Luna and Jade from a circus in Guatemala, they towered over their sisters from another litter, cubs Sun and Moon (rescued at 6 months old). Now, with the benefit of good nutrition and supplements from a much younger age, Sun and Moon tower over Luna and Jade. The girls are all very affectionate towards each other and we sense that Sun and Moon still defer to their older, if smaller sisters, Luna and Jade.

That poor diet early in life has left Jade and Luna with malformation of the connection between skull and spine, leading to a straight-leg, goose-stepping type walk. They receive extra vitamin supplements, especially vitamin A, which has helped relieve the problem. This is a variation of the same problem in the mothers in the family, Lupe, Bimbi and Sombra, caused by inadequate food in their circus life (in addition to the problems caused by in-breeding).

Click here to find out more about the animals at ADIWS, and how to adopt the animals.

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. 

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