Guatemalan Circus Lions Rescued From Despicable Conditions Are Finally Home In Africa

UPDATE: A total of 17 lions and tigers rescued from Guatemalan circus have arrived at ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa. After years of preparation and coordinating, the big cats are finally safe. The rest of their days will be spent roaming hundred of acres and they will never be asked to perform again.

This was accomplished thanks to generous people like you and Animal Defenders International. The group fought to end circuses in the country and the Guatemalan government finally agreed to the ban in 2018. After the circuses were banned, the group went to work rescuing the neglected animals and building a sanctuary for them in South Africa.

Your donations helped to fly Sasha, Kimba, Nena, Tarzan, Tanya, and Tomas to freedom and care for them along the way. Check out the heartwarming video below of Tarzan and Tanya arriving at the sanctuary.

Lions are magnificent animals and deserve to live as nature intended – wild and free.

Five lions that were rescued from Guatemalan circuses are about to experience joy and freedom for the first time. The lions were rescued from this brutal life after a local law banned animals from performing in circuses. Animal Defenders International (ADI), worked relentlessly to rescue the lions and bring them to freedom.

Previously, the only life the lions knew was performing for the entertainment of humans. They were beaten into submission and kept in cramped metal cages. Never having felt grass under their paws or the space to run is a thing of the past. The lions will be treated like ‘kings and queens’ at the newly built sanctuary in South Africa.

Photo: ADI

Photo: ADI

Three lions were surrendered willingly from Circo Navarro. Kimba, Nena, and Sasha were the first lions to be rescued. They were brought to a temporary shelter to enjoy moving freely for the first time.

Photo: ADI

Photo: ADI

Kimba, a large male lion, wasted no time in finding items that he could play with. One of the ADI team was topping off his water with a green watering can when Kimba suddenly grabbed the tip of it. With great delight, Kimba destroyed the watering can. His new favorite toy is a log, which he places his massive paw on as he sleeps.

Photos: ADI

Photos: ADI

Nena, a playful lioness, was overtaken with joy when she entered the bed of hay in her new crate. She instantly found the log in her enclosure and tossed it in the air.

Photo: ADI

Photo: ADI

Sasha, a sweet lioness, loves to have her back scratched. Of course, with a back scratcher – no fingers near the lions! She dove head first into her bed of hay and popped back up with a smile on her face.

Photos: ADI Sasha before and after rescue.

Photos: ADI
Sasha before and after rescue.

The other two lions, Tarzan and Tanya, were rescued from Circo Ponce. They were rescued from a tiny metal cage on the back of a truck. The two are bonded and absolutely adore each other. They willingly leaped into the new crate to freedom.

Tarzan had been badly abused and is missing teeth. It is said that he was in a fight with a tiger in the circus, which left him with a droopy lower lip.

Photo: ADI Tarzan leaving the circus for good.

Photo: ADI
Tarzan leaving the circus for good.

Tanya closed her eyes in delight after destroying her first water tray. Together they will live in a peaceful environment full of things to play with, or destroy for Tanya.

The five lions are at the temporary custody center in Guatemala until their flights are funded to their forever home in a sanctuary. Once the flights are funded, all the lions will be flown to a new ADI built 455-acre, state-of-the-art sanctuary in South Africa.

Photo: ADI The pair after the rescue.

Photo: ADI
The pair after the rescue.

Greater Good is once again helping lions fly to a safe sanctuary. A couple of years ago, 33 lions needed funds to fly them from Peru to South Africa. Thanks to people like you, enough money was raised to save and send all the lions.

Without donations, the rescue team would not be able to care for the animals or fly them to their forever homes. Thank you for helping these animals and showing them that humans can be gentle and loving. Together we can save them all!

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Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast who resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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