Max and Stripes on the prowl

Max and Stripes on the prowl at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary – a reminder that cute cubs grow up to be very big. Here’s why you should never support cub petting….

When we first met Max and Stripes, they were in a circus in Guatemala, they were tiny and the circus would drag them away from their mother as they suckled, to be passed from person to person to cuddle and have their photo taken. There was another little cub too, but within weeks, he or she was dead. When ADI began enforcing Guatemala’s ban on animals in circuses we were able to remove nine tigers and two lions from the circus. But the circus blocked the removal of the cubs and four other tigers – still trying to cash in on them. Six months later, we rescued Max, Stripes and the other tigers. They were living in a circus cage in a junkyard.

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Sun is resting

The incredibly lively Sun gets a little shut eye at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa, but you know she’ll be playing again soon. Rescued from a circus in Guatemala, Sun lives with sisters Jade, Luna and Moon, known as the Spice Girls, they are four of the most playful animals we have ever rescued. And when it comes to toys like stacks of hay bales and giant catnip boxes, they are the most destructive. As winter approaches in South Africa, we will be adding hay bales for extra insulation around the dens for the lions and tigers. Each day the ADIWS team will be rebuilding the hay bales for the girls and each day they will tear them down and play with them. No wonder Sun needs to grab a rest when she can.

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Max looking at you

Rescued from a circus in Guatemala as a tiny cub, where he was being passed from person to person for photos, Max now enjoys life at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, South Africa. He roams the 5+acre Kakato (by April Fong) Habitat with brother Stripes. Max is the more outgoing and inquisitive of the tigers and, as he is here, always the first to come and check out anyone passing.

Max is a reminder of why you should never support petting and photos with lion and tiger cubs. Aside from the distress to mother and babies, tigers grow up to be very big just like Max!

Jade checks out her new trees

March saw 24 more indigenous karee trees – sponsored by Trees for Tigers USA – planted at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa. This is part of our program of re-wildling the sanctuary land with indigenous plants to encourage local wildlife and provide rich habitats for our rescued lions and tigers. The sanctuary has 455 acres, much of which was denuded by farming, so we are re-planting and giving it back to the animals. These trees are an investment that will grow and grow and provide shelter for generations of rescued animals to come – we just have to keep watering them! Jade, who was rescued from a circus in Guatemala and who lives with sisters Luna, Sun and Moon, seems to approve. Although she didn’t help by tearing up the pipes we planted to water the trees and turning them into toys for her and her Spice Girl sisters!

Sun: All grown up

None of us can forget those tiny tigers Sun and Moon rescued in the summer of 2018 from a circus in Guatemala. For the ADI team a traumatic 18 months followed. It would take another six months to finally rescue the remaining tigers in the same circus, the Temporary Rescue Unit (that the ADI team had been ordered to use) was plagued with difficulties. It was appallingly located, taking hours to reach, trucks bringing animals got stuck, veterinary visits were blocked, it even ran out of water and local sugar farmers helped out. Then came the threats and two attempted invasions by mobs. Finally, heaping huge extra costs on the rescue, an emergency relocation was needed as unscrupulous individuals attempted to get control of the animals.

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Max peering through tall grass

If you visit a sanctuary, don’t expect to see all of the animals. This is Max at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa watching intensely from the long grass. He was rescued from a circus in Guatemala where he was in a bare cage and was torn from his mother while still suckling and handed around for photographs. Now that Max has space and freedom, he can be wary about approaching people, but that simply makes it extra special when he comes up to chuff and greet you. Animals in captivity need to be able to make the choice of when they want to be seen or not. For many species, being stared at by people can be a torture.

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Lions and tigers play ball

Our custom made lion and tiger balls from Robust a Ball have arrived at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary and Kesari, Sasha tiger, Chino and Coco have been the first to have a ball! Sasha lioness has been enjoying our prototype of the new size for the past couple of weeks. For Sasha lioness, it is even more than enrichment, it is great physiotherapy for her leg, which has a titanium scaffold after diseased bone was removed.

Our habitats are large at the ADIWS, giving the lions and tigers space to explore, run, and play, but enrichment like this is still vital for keeping them engaged mentally and physically. You can support treats, toys and enrichment for the animals.

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Monday yawning with Luna

It hardly seems fair, you’re back at work and Luna is lounging in the pool and then gives one of those great big yawns that only big cats can do! She doesn’t quite match just how wide Kesari managed to get his mouth last Monday. Let us know if looking at this makes you stifle a yawn or maybe wish you were in the pool or back in bed!

Luna lives with sisters Jade, Sun and Moon at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa after they were rescued together from a circus in Guatemala.

PS: If you think Luna is a feeling and sentient animal – and we think it’s pretty obvious she is – and you’re in the UK, then please ask your MP TODAY to support the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill at its Report stage on 14 March: