Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at ADI, and a HUGE THANK YOU for everything that you have helped us achieve in the past year from awareness and education campaigns to securing new laws to rescuing and caring for animals. For Thanksgiving this week, the lions and tigers at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary have been enjoying special melon treats. This gallery gives a taste of the fun they have been having.

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The ADI Wildlife Sanctuary team was pleased to help with the release of two tigers at the new Isindile Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. We donated two of our Guatemala travel crates to the new sanctuary.

Three weeks ago, the team from Isindile spent a day at ADIWS training with Johannes, Jan, and Lefaso covering food preparation, husbandry, feeding and safety protocols. The ADIWS team discussed the personalities of the lion and tiger residents at ADIWS and their different needs. We hope by helping another new sanctuary, we can contribute to the welfare of other rescued animals.

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At a glance you just see male lion Tarzan, but look closer and there’s Tanya snuggled at his side.  The lions saw each other through thick and thin in a circus in Guatemala – tiny Tanya even fought to defend her beloved Tarzan when he was attacked by a tiger – now they are always at each other’s side in the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, South Africa.

Earlier this year, Dr Peter Caldwell was able to give Tarzan a partial lip lift to repair the horrific damage after a tiger tore apart the lion’s face in the circus. It was not possible to fully repair the damage, but, as can be seen in this picture, the surgery made a huge difference for Tarzan.


Five lions and 12 tigers, rescued from Guatemala circuses, make a great escape to freedom at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa. The animals were rescued during ADI’s 18-month operation to help enforce Guatemala’s ban on animals in circuses. Then, officials warned ADI to leave the country with the animals by 21 January or risk losing them. Organizing a flight like this normally takes weeks, but ADI was racing against time as flight after flight was blocked due to landing and security restrictions on flights from Guatemala. With just days to spare, ADI secured an escape route through Mexico, Belgium, and Qatar.

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Sasha lioness is home

Our beloved Sasha has arrived home at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary after two months in the hospital!

In November, Sasha had ground-breaking surgery to remove diseased bone from her leg and replace it with a titanium scaffold and bone cement.  The damage to her leg started in the circus in Guatemala. During a brutal declawing operation, part of the toe was left and became infected, leading to a local cancer and then bone cysts spread up her leg.  

Now she begins a slow, careful rehabilitation at the sanctuary.

Donate to Help Sasha

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OJ home for Christmas!

We are delighted that our dear Colombian ex-circus lion, OJ (Ojiclaro), has been discharged from hospital and is home for Christmas. 

OJ went into hospital a couple of weeks ago after he seemed unwell, and we were all so very sad when he was diagnosed with leukaemia. Our vet Dr Peter Caldwell said his prospects were bleak, as no cure has been published, but when we asked how long OJ might have at home, Peter said there was something he could try. Naturally, we said yes. 

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A Ticket To Thrive for an animal saved from circus suffering

A lifetime of suffering in the circus takes its toll. When ADI empties the cages and helps enforce national laws to end a whole industry, the animals saved require lifelong care and veterinary attention to deal with their physical and psychological damage. 

At the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, we are currently caring for 42 lions and tigers, all bar one rescued from circuses in South America. Most have been cruelly mutilated through declawing. Many came into our care with broken teeth, dental treatment relieving them of years of pain. Others require ongoing medication and supplements to deal with health conditions caused through inbreeding and the long-term effects of their past abuse, confinement, and deprivation. To provide this, and to give these animals who have suffered so much the best possible life, we are reliant on our supporters and the public. 

This GivingTuesday – a global day of generosity taking place on December 1st – can you donate $10 / £8 for a Ticket To Thrive to care for one of our rescued animals for one day? You can do so through our dedicated donate page (for the UK click here) or our GivingTuesday Facebook fundraiser.

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Preventing and putting out the fires

There have always been wildfires but climate change is making them worse, and human lack of care for our planetary systems is the cause. 

Since 1998, we have had the ten hottest years on record, and nine of those have been since 2005.  Overall our planet is getting hotter.  Record breaking temperatures and drought have preceded many of the worst fires – fuelled by dried out land and plants, the fires have grown larger and faster.  

In a region where wildfires are a seasonal part of life, to protect the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary it is surrounded by a 70ft firebreak, and there are firebreaks around every animal habitat.  Thanks to a generous, anonymous founder we now have four firefighters ­– portable water tanks with motors and high-pressure hoses.  Our new truck, sponsored by the Robert R Sprague Foundation, and the trailer our supporters helped purchase, have improved the speed of our response. We can be at all points of the sanctuary very quickly, and have added overhead water stations to top up the firefighters at speed.

We are part of a community working together to put out fires in the area.  Hadio, who patiently gives our animals their medications, has also put out a local blaze spotted by the ADIWS team.  Last year, when a car crashed nearby, exploded and sent flames racing towards the sanctuary, our team scrambled and the fire was stopped dead in its tracks at our perimeter firebreak.

To stop the human-caused warming of our planet, we must cut greenhouse gases by replacing fossil fuels with renewable clean energy­, as we are doing with solar power at the ADIWS.  We understand it is not yet possible for everything – air travel with renewable energy is years away, but people are working on it.

We are setting up a scheme to enable people who must travel by air, to offset it with a donation to plant trees at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary! This will be based on existing carbon pollution offset schemes – and you will be able to see tangible results, your trees growing and our sanctuary transforming.  Until this is available, you can support tree-planting at the ADIWS here

When we first announced we would be building a sanctuary, we said we would make it a green sanctuary. We have planted trees and begun returning land to nature that had been degraded by farming and chemicals. Our fences, motorised gates, heated floors for senior animals, security lights and CCTV cameras are all solar powered.  Recently we began converting the hot water in our accommodation to solar. We are self-sufficient in water from our springs and taking steps to preserve this precious resource.  We plan to install our own eco-friendly waste disposal and water re-cycling and filtration system.  

Our friends at sanctuary Big Cat Rescue in Florida (where ADI took ex-circus tigers Hoover, Max, Simba, and Kimba) realized how important this project is, and understand the financial challenges for a new sanctuary.  BCR has kindly offered ADI a matching grant of $50,000 towards our green waste recycling system. If we can raise $50,000 in the coming months we will have sustainable, planet-friendly waste disposal and clean water security forever.  Can you help?  

Education – governments and next generations: To bring about change, we need to educate and increase awareness of the damage we do, without thinking. We must make governments pay attention and accelerate the shift to renewable energy that is kind to our planet and other earthlings. End government subsidies for industries that damage the planet, and transfer assistance to earthling-kind industries.  With your help, our Jean Warner Sprague Education Center will be taking this message to South African school children.  

Help empty the cages with our new limited edition clothing!

UPDATE: This campaign has ended. Watch this space for future limited-edition clothing!

We’ve launched a new range of t-shirts, tanks and sweatshirts (available only until August 18th) in a range of colors, featuring tiger Kumal rescued from a circus cage in Guatemala and lion David saved from a circus in Peru.  Both are now loving life at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary.

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