Lion Ark Diary 1: meet Kimba

8 Feb

Meet Kimba. He’s the 25th lion to be rescued by ADI in a record-breaking mission to empty Bolivia of every circus animal in the country.  Once ADI leave with the lions, in a huge airlift which will bring them to a fantastic new home in Colorado, the region’s circus industry will be cruelty-free for the first time.  This follows last May’s rescue of four lions, and will bring the overall total of lions rescued from Bolivia by ADI to a staggering 29.

Kimba’s Story:

This weekend, a specialist ADI team flew down to Tarija in southern Bolivia and returned with an elderly lion called Kimba, lion number 25.

Kimba had been living in a small concrete zoo enclosure for the past 11 years after being dumped there by a travelling circus.  In recent weeks, ADI and the Bolivian authorities have swooped on circuses all over Bolivia and confiscated all of their animals.  Indigenous or domestic animals have been homed in Bolivia, and ADI is taking care of all the lions – now numbering 25.  Bolivia’s DGB had requested ADI take the old lion.

On Friday, ADI flew down to Tarija in a C130 Hercules that had seen service in the Vietnam War. They took one of the crates that had already been prepared for the Operation Lion Ark airlift later this month.

At the zoo, the ADI team had to break down a wall and cut through metal railings to get to Kimba, but he was soon lured into the travel crate by ADI President Jan Creamer. He was then driven to the airport, with members of the Tarija public applauding on the roadside, and loaded onto the TAB cargo aircraft.  It was a smooth hour flight back to Santa Cruz, during which Kimba was very relaxed and showed no signs of stress, before a slow drive to the ADI Operation Lion Ark compound. The ADI team, including a veterinarian, joined Kimba on the flight and were able to monitor him throughout.

In the ADI compound Kimba saw and heard other lions for the first time, he went straight into his new holding cage and had a meal before calling to the other lions.

The lions which have been rescued from circuses after Bolivia banned the use of animals in circuses will be heading for a new life at The Wild Animal Sanctuary near Denver Colorado where ADI is funding the construction of new facilities on 80 acres (over 32 hectares) land supplied by the sanctuary.

This dramatic lion rescue began last November when, in a series of seizures all over Bolivia, ADI working with the Bolivian authorities including the DGB and Santa Cruz Governor’s Office, started to remove the animals from different circuses spread across the country.

The moves were to enforce Bolivia’s Law 4040 which bans the use of animals in circuses, which came into force after ADI officers went undercover to expose the horrific abuse in circuses across South America. The legislation effectively shut down the country’s animal circus industry at a stroke – the first time such a thing has happened in the world.

The huge rescue operation – the first time a country’s animal circus industry has been shut down in this way – last week attracted the backing of a number of celebrities including Bob Barker, Jorja Fox, Brian Blessed, Twiggy and a host of others who have called on the public to send donations to help the rescue.

Make a donation to support our animal rescues

16 Responses to “Lion Ark Diary 1: meet Kimba”

  1. GRETA February 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    What you have done for all these wild animals, it`s SUPER!!!You are wonderful people!!!!
    Great work!!!!
    Best regards from

  2. micaela February 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    gracias por todo lo que hacen, yo vivo en ecuador y e estado lo últimos años difundiendo información sobre su trabajo, y ayudando de distintas formas… MIS FELICITACIONES DE TODO CORAZÓN.

  3. Nikki February 12, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    I saw Kimba 3 years ago in Tarija. A kid was poking him with a stick. I vowed if I could ever afford it I would go back and rescue him. To see him rescued brought tears to my eyes. Thank you ADI!!!!

  4. Rita De Ferrary February 12, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    Bolivia, supposedly a third world country shuts down all circuses using live animals. The mighty USA can’t do this, there are lions, tigers, elephants, all manner of exotic species captive in tiny cages suffering all over America.
    Americans should be aware of what a truly backward backwater country they really are. Felicitaciones Bolivia for being at the head of the pack in protecting the ‘rights’ of animals.

  5. Carolina February 15, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Wonderful job.I have seen circus in my country with animals,laws are not well done so the owners of these cicuses can continue doing whatever they can with abused and neglected animals like lions, tigers and camels.
    It´s so devastating to me seen this in my own country, but what you do out there is a hope for all the animals and the people who love them.

  6. JRO February 16, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    I’m glad my country did this. Probably the only positive legacy of this government of ours…

  7. ronald vega February 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    es digno de admirar el accionar de la gente que cuida a los animales y felicitar a Bolivia por ser pionero en los derechos de los animales en america del sur.

    desde CBBA -BOLIVIA

    • Ivalene May 3, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

      That’s not just logic. That’s really snesilbe.

  8. kim piper February 17, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Fantastic story!! Well done – and thank you! Any advice you have on how we can stop animals from being used in circuses in the US would be greatly appreicated!!

  9. Chris Froehlich February 18, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Not sure how you did it. Don’t really care either, but EXCELLENT WORK!!!

  10. Jo February 18, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    I love you all so much, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! When I get my PhD in four more years and begin my career I am going to make it a point to include you in my monthly donations of funds. You all ROCK!

  11. Diane February 20, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    I applaud you, Bob and every person involved – you have all worked relentlessly to make it happen. It fills me with happiness knowing they all have a new start in life. I cannot thank you enough. xox

  12. Cristina February 22, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    Amazing, just amazing.

  13. Peter Rimell February 26, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Have just come across your website.Congrats on the wonderful work you are doing. Being a Leo (b’day is 14th August 1927) I will be sending a donation soon. I will not do a Direct Debit, as I am now 83 – and living on borroed time!! I will send a lump sum for the year.

  14. Lou November 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    It’s so heartwarmingly lovely to see a happy ending. All too often the human race abuses weaker species for the most unjustifiable reasons and it is depressing and horrifying to hear of the never ending horrors we inflict on the animal world so this has cheered me up absolutely no end. Would love to know how Kimba is doing in his new home, I really hope he’s going well. People who make these things happen make me a little more proud to be human, there actually are some lovely, kind hearted people out there after all.

  15. G. Murali dhar January 8, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    Lioness ( sisters) Chitara and Dalia were abandoned by the circus with no food and water. It is very pity. The circusses companies put animals sufferring not only in looking after but also in transport.
    G. Murali dhar

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