Yesterday marked a new beginning for 12 tigers and 5 lions, as they start their new life at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa.
The big cats were rescued by Animal Defenders International (ADI) from Guatemala, where they suffered their whole life by being confined to small cages.
The rescue mission known as Operation Liberty finally came to an end after 18 long months, during those months ADI assisted authorities with enforcing Guatemala’s animal circus ban.
“These animals have experienced a lifetime of suffering and abuse in circuses in Guatemala but those days are over,” Jan Creamer, president of the organisation, said.
“At the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, our place of loving kindness, the tigers and lions can run, play, and explore their wonderful, natural surroundings under the African sun. The beginning of the rest of their lives, we could not be happier for them.”
Over the last 18 months the big cats have been living in Guatemala while all of the necessary permits were secured and preparations made for their new homes.
The lions and tigers journey to South Africa started on the 18th of January, the big cats traveled in their own individual crates. After more than 34 hours of flying, on the morning of January 21 the animals touched down at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
They were then transported in trucks to the Free State where the ADI wildlife Sanctuary is located.
Due to the abuse these animals have suffered and their years of confinement, it is not possible to return these animals to the wild.
We would like to thank ADI for making this possible.