Saved from a circus in Guatemala by Animal Defenders International (ADI), Bengal tigers Max, Simba and Kimba arrived at their forever home Big Cat Rescue (BCR) in Florida in time for Thanksgiving.
Jan Creamer, president of ADI, said, “Never again will these tigers be abused or made to perform in the circus. The suffering is over. A real team effort, we are delighted that Max, Simba and Kimba were home in time for Thanksgiving and will be able to live the rest of their lives in peace.”
The relocation of the three male tigers began on November 24 when Max, Simba (both 9 years old) and Kimba (2.5 years old) were coaxed into travel crates for the journey of a lifetime.
Big Cat Rescue Founder and CEO Carole Baskin said, “All three of our new tigers from Guatemala are settling into their new home here at Big Cat Rescue very quickly. Each has been eating well, drinking water, exploring their new enclosures, enjoying their platforms and dens and chuffing happily to our keepers. We are so grateful this Thanksgiving to finally have these precious boys here in their forever home.”
Banning the use of animals in circuses in 2017, the government of Guatemala invited ADI to help enforce the law after it came into effect 12 months later. With the London-based organization successfully completing similar missions in Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, ADI sprang into action.
Launching Operation Liberty in May 2018, ADI quickly established a temporary rescue centre in the country to care for the rescued animals until they could be relocated to their forever homes.
ADI has rescued a total of 15 tigers and six lions during its 18-month-long Operation Liberty mission. At ADI’s temporary rescue centre, all of the animals have received veterinary care and some emergency treatment, including dental surgery to repair painful, damaged teeth
Like many of the big cats ADI has rescued, a number of the animals, including Simba, have been declawed, a cruel mutilation that doesn’t just remove the claws, but the toes at the first joint, causing ongoing discomfort, which can lead to painful disability later in life.
The other tigers and lions rescued during the mission will be relocated to the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa, already home to 25 lions rescued by ADI from circuses in Peru and Colombia.