Simba Tiger

Avatar LaWanna | December 27, 2019 1111 Views 3 Likes 4.43 On 7 Ratings

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Simba Tiger
Male Tiger
Born 2010
Rescue from the circus by ADI June 2018
Arrived at Big Cat Rescue November 25, 2019

Simba the tiger was rescued from the circus in Guatemala. We believe he was born in 2010. He came to us with two other male tigers, Max and Kimba. At the circus these tigers were fed chicken feet as their primary diet. This does not give them the nutrition they need. Many circus tigers are very closely related due to inbreeding and often suffer spinal deformities from the lack of nutrition, inadequate ability to move around, being forced into unnatural poses for circus acts, and being so inbred. These three tigers all have arches in their spines that we do not see in our other cats.

In the circus the full time living space for these circus tigers was only about the size of a queen size bed.  Because it is a cruel life 27 countries ban circus acts that use wild cats. In the U.S., there are seven states and 149 other localities in 39 states that have passed various restrictions or bans involving the use of wild animals in circuses.

Simba-Tiger-2019The circus was banned by law in Guatemala thanks to efforts made by Animal Defenders International. Hermanos Ponce Circus resisted turning over the animals, but ADI eventually managed to get them to relinquish their tigers and ADI cared for them in a temporary facility while Big Cat Rescue worked to obtain the import permit needed to bring three of them, Simba, Max and Kimba, to their permanent home here.  They finally arrived on November 25, 2019.

Of the three tigers, when they arrived at Big Cat Rescue Simba proved to be the extrovert in the group. When the door of his travel crate was opened, he exited enthusiastically and headed right for one of our large cylindrical toys and started playing with it.

Background Information

February 7, 2018, was the first time Big Cat Rescue heard about the circus tigers in Guatemala. It was a Daily Mail story telling everyone 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 made by Animal Defenders International. The tigers were supposed to have been turned over to authorities, but instead, Ponce Circus, and others all went on the run. On October 29, 2018, we heard that 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 had gotten the last 6 tigers out of the Ponce Circus. The big cats were transferred to a temporary rescue camp that Big Cat Rescue helped to fund. Then the laborious process of obtaining export and import permits began.

In all, ADI rescued 6 lions and 15 tigers from the rogue circuses. Big Cat Rescue funded the care for 3 tigers named Kimba, Max, and Simba during this lengthy ordeal. Unfortunately, other sanctuaries had promised to do the same for the other cats, but they never followed through. The remaining cats will go and live in South Africa at the Rescue Center that ADI has built to care for them.

On November 25, 2019, three former circus tigers from Guatemala Rescued by Animal Defenders International, are on their way to Big Cat Rescue!

Arriving in Miami

Finally, the day has arrived! Watch as Max, Kimba and Simba land in Miami International Airport!

Welcome to MIAThe Plane Has Landed


Watch as Max, Kimba and Simba are Taken off the Plane!

Guatemala Tigers ArrivingWe have been waiting for this day for well over a year!

Our former circus tigers from Guatemala- Kimba, Max, and Simba- finally arrived at Miami International Airport (MIA) via Aero Union cargo plane this morning. A team of Big Cat Rescuers met them there and have loaded them into our air-conditioned transport trailer. They are on their way to the sanctuary right now!

Rescued from a life of circus suffering in Guatemala by Animal Defenders International (ADI) in June of 2018, Kimba (almost age 3), Max and Simba (both age 9) are about to start their new lives at their forever home at Big Cat Rescue! This is the largest international rescue of exotic cats for Big Cat Rescue in over 20 years.

While our tigers were at ADI’s temporary facility in Guatemala for over a year as we awaited completion of the import/export paperwork, Big Cat Rescue provided $85,000 in financial support for the cats, including the flight to Miami, thanks to YOUR generous donations!

At Big Cat Rescue, tigers Max, Simba, and Kimba will each enjoy their own spacious (approximately 4,000-sq-feet) natural enclosure with freshwater pools for cooling off and splashing, numerous shade trees, soft grass and foliage, dens, and large platforms. They will have 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. Each tiger will enjoy his own Butterball turkey for Thanksgiving and his own Christmas tree in December. They will also go on month-long vacations in our 2.5-acre Vacation Rotation space!

Can we now count on your support for the ongoing food and care for these precious boys? It costs our sanctuary $10,000 per year for food and vet care for each tiger. That’s a $400,000 commitment for these three tigers, assuming they live to age 20, which is very likely at Big Cat Rescue. You can make a secure donation for Kimba, Max and Simba on our Giving Tuesday donation page here. There is even a $25,000 dollar-for-dollar match from the SHARE Foundation.

Big Cat Rescue would like to thank the Guatemalan government for its commitment to enforcing the law and eliminating the use of animals in circuses, and the Guatemalan animal welfare division (UBA), and the customs broker Eduardo Arecco CHB for his services.

Pools for Guatemala Tigers

There was much advance preparation done to get ready for these three new tigers some of which were enclosures with new pools were constructed.

Become Simba's Sponsor

You can become a sponsor for this amazing tiger and receive a fun sponsorship kit in the mail which includes a large photo and more.

Sponsor A Tiger

Learn more at

Guatemala Tiger Rescue Merchandise

You can help support these wonderful tigers by shopping for merchandise that sports their photos.  Here are a few of the items you can choose from. These products not only help support the cats at Big Cat Rescue but also make fabulous thoughtful gifts for loved ones during the holidays or on special occasions. Find them at

Big Cat Rescue Merchandise

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