ADI lion and tiger rescue

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Help us save the lions and tiger

A rescue operation is underway to take two lions and tigers from a life of misery with the circus in Portugal, to live out their lives at the new ADI Rescue Centre in South Africa.

Last year, we received a cry for help from Portugal where two lions and two tigers had apparently been abandoned by a travelling circus. An ADI Field Officer went to verify the situation and discovered two lions, Sarah and Caesar, and a tiger Tarzan, living in a rusting beastwagon at the roadside near Lisbon. Circo Universal had been forced to stop touring due to financial difficulties, however, the animals had not been abandoned and were still under the control of the circus.

Sarah and Caesar are aged 8 and Tarzan is 5 years old. They have spent their lives touring Portugal in a cage on the back of a lorry being coerced to entertain people. It was vital that the animals were not sold so another circus, so we began moves to secure their safety. We negotiated with the relevant authorities and an ADI vet visited the animals, to assess if they were fit enough to travel. We also had the animals vaccinated for rabies to ensure that they could be exported.
They will travel individually in custom-built, steel-lined crates, costing almost £1,000 each. We have built four, which we hope to use again in future to save more animals.

The animals have now been seized from the circus and are in the quarantine facilities at Lisbon Zoo. The Portuguese veterinary and CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) authorities have finalised the paperwork to export the animals to our sanctuary, and we are now awaiting the permits from the South African authorities.

Their new enclosures are ready and waiting. The costs of transporting these animals and caring for them for the rest of their lives will be considerable, but they should have long lives of freedom ahead of them; it is difficult to put any price on that. They will also be the standard-bearers for other animals rescued from travelling circuses. This rescue will highlight the dreadful suffering of circus animals across Europe, and, in particular in Portugal, where we have exposed such abuse.

Sarah, Caesar and Tarzan desperately need your help.

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