On Feb. 7, 2018 was the first time we heard about the circus tigers in Guatemala. It was Daily Mail story telling about how a 55 year old man had both his arms ripped off by starving tigers, who ate them as villagers threw rocks and beat the cats with sticks. The circus had been banned in Guatemala, thanks to efforts by Animal Defenders International. The tigers were supposed to be turned over to authorities, but instead the Ponce circus, and others, went on the run. On Oct. 29, 2018 we heard the Ponce circus tigers were still starving and we asked ADI if they were able to find them.
By November 11, 2018 ADI was able to announce that they got the last 6 tigers out of the Ponce circus. The big cats were transferred to a temporary rescue camp that Big Cat Rescue helped fund and the laborious process of obtaining export and import permits began. In all ADI rescued six lions and 15 tigers from the rogue circuses. Big Cat Rescue funded the care of three tigers, Kimba, Simba and Max during their ordeal. At first other sanctuaries had agreed to do the same, but did not supply the funding necessary, so ADI began building their own rescue center in S. Africa for the other 18 big cats.
Fast forward a full year and on November 19, 2019 we were finally able to announce the arrival flight has been set for Nov. 25, 2019. Their long ordeal of suffering in a circus, being left to starve, being rescued and transferred to rescue camps and finally making the long flight across the Gulf of Mexico is nearly over.