Three Former Tigers Rescued

Now Reside at Big Cat Rescue

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Three Former Circus Tigers Rescued from Guatemala by Animal Defenders International …Now reside at Big Cat Rescue. Rescued from a life of circus suffering in Guatemala by Animal Defenders International (ADI), tigers Max, Simba, and Kimba arrived at Miami International Airport (MIA) on November 25, 2019 before completing the final leg of their journey by road to their forever home at Big Cat Rescue (BCR) in Tampa. This rescue was the largest international rescue of exotic cats for Big Cat Rescue in almost 25 years.

Three Former Circus Tigers Rescued from Guatemala by Animal Defenders International Now Reside at Big Cat Rescue. Rescued from a life of circus suffering in Guatemala by Animal Defenders International (ADI), tigers Max, Simba, and Kimba arrived at Miami International Airport (MIA) on before completing the final leg of their journey by road to their forever home at Big Cat Rescue (BCR) in Tampa. This rescue was the largest international rescue of exotic cats for Big Cat Rescue in almost 25 years.

Three Former Circus Tigers Rescued from Guatemala by Animal Defenders International ...Now reside at Big Cat Rescue.

After banning the use of animals in circuses in 2017, the government of Guatemala invited ADI to help enforce the law, as the Los Angeles-based organization has successfully done, in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. Operation Liberty was launched in May 2018, ADI establishing from scratch a temporary rescue center in the country to care for the animals rescued until they could be relocated to their forever homes.

Male adult tigers Kimba (3 years old), Max and Simba (both 9 years old) were among a group of lions and tigers rescued from a Guatemalan circus called Circo Hermanos Ponce in June 2018. The circus had agreed to voluntarily surrender the animals but, in a tense, daylong operation, ADI had to step in and stop circus workers severely beating and terrifying the youngest tiger, Kimba, on two occasions. The 18-month-old tiger was so terrified that the veterinary team had to medicate him. Meanwhile, the ADI rescue team endured verbal abuse and intimidation, theft of their tools, and a circus worker exposing himself.

Big Cat Rescue

ADI has rescued a total of 15 tigers and 6 lions during Operation Liberty, including the remaining six tigers from Circo Hermanos Ponce, who had refused to hand over the animals when Max, Simba, and Kimba were taken into ADI’s care. The family of 6 tigers, including two cubs, were found and removed by ADI from a junkyard in November 2018. Aside from the three tigers going to Big Cat Rescue, the other big cats will be relocated to the new ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa.  

Big Cat Rescue Founder and CEO Carole Baskin said, “Big Cat Rescue is thrilled to become the permanent forever home for these three former Guatemalan circus tigers. Big cats should not be forced to perform tricks and unnatural behaviors in circuses. We applaud Guatemala for banning wild animals in circuses and look forward to the day when all countries have ended this cruel, inhumane practice.”

At Big Cat Rescue, tigers Max, Simba and Kimba each enjoy their own spacious (approximately 4000-sq.-feet) natural enclosure with a freshwater pool for cooling off and splashing, numerous shade trees, soft grass and foliage, dens, and large platforms. They have access to the best medical and dental care at Big Cat Rescue’s onsite Windsong Memorial Hospital as well as proper nutrition and mentally stimulating enrichment treats several times a week.


Jan Creamer, President of ADI, said: “Max, Simba, and Kimba will be home for Thanksgiving, and we couldn’t be happier for them. Animal Defenders International is hugely grateful to Big Cat Rescue for giving our rescued tiger trio the happy ending they deserve, in their forever home.”

ADI and BCR would like to thank the Guatemalan government for its commitment to enforcing the law and eliminating the use of animals in circuses; to departments CONAP and the animal welfare division (UBA), animal protection group ARCAS, and the Guatemalan army for their support and assistance; and Priority Worldwide Services for helping to make the tigers’ relocation possible.

About Big Cat Rescue:

Animal Sanctuary

Big Cat Rescue is an animal sanctuary near Tampa, Florida, United States, devoted to rescuing and housing exotic cats, rehabilitating injured or orphaned native wild cats, and ending the private trade and ownership of exotic cats via educational outreach and legislation. As of August 2015, the center is home to 19 big cats and 67 small cats. Big Cat Rescue has sheltered binturongs, bobcats, Canada lynxes, caracals, civets, cougars, Geoffroy’s cats, leopards, lions, jaguars, ocelots, sand cats, Savannah cats, servals, Siberian lynxes, and tigers. Big Cat Rescue is one of the largest accredited sanctuaries in the world dedicated to rescuing and providing a permanent home for abused and abandoned big cats.

Big Cat Rescue, one of the world’s largest accredited sanctuaries for exotic cats, is a leading advocate for ending the abuse of captive big cats and saving wild cats from extinction.

The nonprofit organization is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and has a four-star rating (the highest) from Charity Navigator for sound non-profit fiscal management. Learn more about visiting the Big Cat Rescue and learn how you can help at www.BigCatRescue.org. The Big Cat Rescue is located at Address: 12802 Easy St, Tampa, FL 33625. It was founded in 1992. You can reach them by calling (813) 920-4130.

Visit Big Cat Rescue for a Tour of a Lifetime

Visit Big Cat Rescue by booking your tickets here. Please enter any coupon, voucher or discount code at time of purchase. You will be required to show the physical coupon, voucher which are only good on Day Tours or Kids Tours.  They have quite a variety of tours available including private Photo tours (for groups or individuals), Keeping Tours, Feeding Tours and Kid’s Tours.

Our Big Cat Rescue Keeper Tour:

Our Big Cat Rescue Keeper Tour is the most exclusive behind the scenes experience you can find in the animal world that is respectful to the animals and safe for the guests. Our Big Cat Keeper Tour is the most exclusive behind the scenes experience you can find in the animal world that is respectful to the animals and safe for the guests. If you are an animal lover and want to see the inner workings of a real animal sanctuary, then this 2-hour experience is perfect for you.

Nowhere else can you get this close, interact with such a wide variety of wild cats, and support a great cause at the same time.  The Keeper Tour includes Enrichment: You’ll make toys and treats for the cats to stimulate an animals’ activity level and watch as keeper hands out what you’ve made. Observe the animals’ reactions as they investigate their enrichment that you helped create for them. 

You will also witness a training session between the cats & keepers. During this activity you will accompany our keepers who will teach critical behaviors to one of our feline residents, such as go into lock out, stand up so we can observe the paws and underside, and much more!

Big Cat Rescue Private and Photo Tours:

Private or Photo Tour: These are one-hour tours with a Tour Guide. These Tours only available at set times. You will be able to spend as much time at an enclosure that you need to get that “purrfect” shot. You can also bring all your gear.  Reservations required along with payment.

This is our most exclusive way to get some great photos of our cats. You control the tour.  If you only want certain species, we can accommodate that.  You can spend as much time as you want (within your allotted time) at any enclosure.

Big Cat Rescue Feeding Tours:

The Big Cat Rescue Feeding Tour is a bone-crunching wild time you will never forget! Join us for dinner at Big Cat Rescue. The 1 hour Feeding Tour is a short tour that focuses only on the cats on a designated feeding route. It is followed by a short and informal chat session with one of our big cat keepers.

Watch big cat keepers feed tigers, leopards, cougars and more while observing from just a few feet away. As you walk around the sanctuary with our feeders your guide will tell you about the cats on the feeding route, their diets, and how they hunt in the wild.

Kids Tour at Big Cat Rescue:

If you want to bring children under the age of ten, including infants, this is the only tour available for your group, (other than the more expensive Private Tour). This is a complete guided tour where children of all ages and their parents can get up-close and learn about exotic cats and other animals.

More About Animal Defenders International (ADI):  Los Angeles – London – Bogota

Ending the suffering of animals in captivity and protecting wild animals and their environments: animals in entertainment – film, television, advertising, circuses, and sport or leisure; animals used for food or fur; protection of wildlife, and the environment; trade in animals; zoos, pets, entertainment, and laboratories. Funding and promotion of advanced scientific methods to replace the use of animals in research. ADI investigates, produces evidence and reports on the scientific, legal, and economic issues for each case study, recommending solutions. Education and awareness to public, media, and officials. Where ADI’s evidence has been a catalyst for change, we collaborate with governments to conduct large-scale seizures of wild animals in captivity and relocate them to forever homes – back to their natural habitat wherever possible.

If you like animals you may want to consider visiting the Tampa Zoo.

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