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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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.