Rescues as Ambassadors for Change

Chaska starts a new life

The most rewarding end to any legislative campaign to end animal suffering is when we get the opportunity to rescue some lucky survivors, and just recently, our lucky survivor was a baby female woolly monkey in Peru. 

The story is the same everywhere, gangs go into the forests and net whole families of monkeys, often, the mother is killed, and the baby taken. This is likely what happened to our baby. This wickedly damaging crime disrupts the social structure of the local populations and the whole ecosystem. 

Stolen from the wild, for sale in local market

Fate and luck played a big role in this rescue; the baby was seized by Peru’s wildlife department, SERFOR (Selva Central District), ADI and partners UPA organised transport and veterinary care. We had the perfect solution; Fausto, a woolly monkey we rescued as a baby in 2014, was now alone in his rainforest habitat after his two companions passed away.

While ADI supporters gave towards her new introduction habitat (to meet Fausto safely) and her two-day journey on foot, by road, air (grateful thanks to LATAM Airlines) and boat, along the Iquitos Amazon tributary to her new ADI-funded sanctuary home, we started building.

Meanwhile, supporters voted to find a new human name for our baby girl and settled on Chaska, a beautiful native Andean name (Quechua language) meaning ‘bright star’. The first touch through the fence between Chaska and Fausto was precious. Introductions are necessarily slow and cautious, over a period of several weeks. After all, we hope for Fausto and Chaska to be together for life (up to 30 years). 

Tiny Chaska reaches out to touch her gentle giant, Fausto, for the first time. The companionship of someone who communicates as we do, sees the world as we do, is important to us all.

We hold onto these moments where we can put right a terrible wrong. The long road of public awareness, education, and lobbying for legislation helps governments and legislators do the right thing and enact laws to protect the non-humans who share our planet. They all need protection from the most destructive excesses of our species. Little Chaska is our bright star, encouraging us along the way.

ADI’s exposure of illegal wildlife markets of Latin America, Asia and Africa, the bushmeat trade, monkeys for laboratories, pets and other exotics, has provided the means for governments to act, on legislation and enforcement. Crucially, once laws are passed ADI offers solutions to hard-pressed government departments which may not have the resources to remove and relocate the victims during law enforcement operations. 

Joint operations with police and wildlife officials are essential to make laws effective.

Rescuing an illegal pet squirrel monkey.

Animal trafficking is a crime against us all. Stealing other inhabitants of our planet from their homes, killing and destroying families and populations, strips our forests of the biodiversity we all need to maintain our planet’s ecosystems. Extinction is not just them; it can hurt us, too. 

Have a Chaska day,

Take Action for World Day for Laboratory Animals, 24 April

Animal experimentation is the most secretive of all the industrialised uses of animals. It is estimated that worldwide, over 100 million animals are used in laboratories every year.  We can only use estimates because so many countries don’t even bother to record and publish how many animals are used. In the US, rats and mice are excluded altogether. 

Experiments are generally conducted in secret, protected by high security, and most experiments are never published. The pain and suffering these animals endure, is not exposed to public or wider scientific scrutiny. Proper independent scrutiny is needed, from experts who can advise on replacement methods, without the use of animals.

24 April is World Day for Laboratory Animals and an opportunity to put a spotlight on their suffering – and also, to press governments and regulators to ensure advanced, scientific non-animal methods are given priority over animal use. Regulators and the scientific community can move to these new approach methodologies (NAMs).

Animals are burnt, blinded, deliberately infected with disease, and force-fed products in experiments that can never be trusted because the fundamental flaw with animal use is the problem of species differences. Each species responds differently to substances, making results from animal tests unreliable when seeking potential effects in humans. For example, the breast cancer drug tamoxifen was designed as an oral contraceptive. It is in rats, but in women it has the opposite effect. It was then introduced to treat breast cancer, despite causing cancer in rats in some studies.

Some still claim animal experiments are essential to medical progress. However, our research indicates that not only are animal experiments misleading, they can also hold up progress. The introduction of blood transfusion was delayed over 200 years because of misleading results of animal experiments. Corneal transplants were delayed nearly 90 years by misleading animal tests.

We have shown that where there is a solid commitment from regulators and legislators, animal testing can be replaced. The EU set a deadline to replace cosmetics testing on animals. Opponents said it couldn’t be done, but the deadline drove forward the development and validation of advanced, non-animal alternatives. These are products used on the face, around the eyes and mouth, they may be used by an individual for many years and ingested on a regular basis. The EU cosmetics testing ban we fought so hard to secure, showed how these products can be safely produced without animal testing. Over 40 countries have banned cosmetics tests on animals. 

Governments and regulators remain reluctant to overhaul archaic regulations requiring animal tests, which are more than half a century old.

In the UK over 4,000 experiments are performed on beagle dogs each year and in the US, almost 60,000. The UK government’s statistics reveal that more than two thirds (68%) were performed to fulfil international regulatory requirements – mainly testing for toxic effects. The figures are even more stark for rabbits and macaque monkeys (the most commonly used primates), respectively, 92% and 97% of these tests are to satisfy regulations. These are UK statistics, but it is reasonable to consider they reflect a global picture. 

These outdated regulations mean animals are force fed products from weedkiller to new drugs, keeping the world locked into animal testing, despite the emergence of more advanced, scientific, precise and humane methods, more relevant to humans. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. Legislators, governments and regulators can adopt policies to accelerate the use of new approach methodologies (NAMs).  

To speed up the development of vaccines for the COVID pandemic, the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) cut requirements for efficacy tests on animals before proceeding to human clinical trials. An estimated million animals die in this type of test every year. Despite the ICMRA ruling, Oxford University tested the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine in monkeys, and the results demonstrated exactly why these tests can be dropped. The vaccine failed to stop the virus in monkeys, but human trials were extended, and the vaccine has since been given to millions of people.

World Day for Laboratory Animals on 24 April provides a focus to draw attention to the suffering of the animals and show that advanced methods are better for science, for the public and the animals. Make your voice the voice for the animals, this special day. Remind politicians, legislators, regulators and governments around the world, that the public wants to see an end to the iniquity of animal testing and greater used of advanced techniques. 

Governments and regulators can make a policy decision to implement use of non-animal, advanced scientific methods, known in science as ‘new approach methodologies’ (NAMs) before animal use is considered. Our task is to push for this!

Wherever you are, send a simple message to your elected representatives – tell them you want to see a commitment to end animal research and testing, and replacement with advanced non-animal methods.

Do it today. 

Join us LIVE, worldwide, for the re-introduction of the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection and Public Safety Act (TEAPSPA) in the U.S. Congress on 17 November!        

Come watch an UPLIFTING and INSPIRING online event hosted by Daytime Emmy Award nominated, Kim Matula (The Bold & The Beautiful, Fighting With My Family) to launch TEAPSPA, to end the use of wild and exotic animals in circuses in the US. 

Kim will be joined by bill’s sponsors in the House, Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, Rep. David Schweikert and in the Senate, by Senator Robert Menendez; Dr. Betsy Coville (USDA-accredited veterinarian, 30+years with exotic animals, MA Veterinary Forensic Sciences) and special guests Chloe East (True Blood, HBO’s Generation, currently filming Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans); ADI Ambassador Jorja Fox (West Wing and known to 73 million viewers as Sara Sidle in CSI).

It has been a long road for TEAPSPA – the evidence we have released over two decades includes undercover investigations and scientific, legal and economic evidence supporting the case to end the use of wild and exotic animals in US circuses.

Successes along the way have included four states with bans: New Jersey, Hawaii, California and Colorado, and 100 local jurisdictions have also looked at the evidence and concluded that cruelty for entertainment is not acceptable in modern society.

Meanwhile, approaching 50 countries have ended the use of either all animals, or wild animals, in traveling shows. 

Animal circus acts date back to a time when people were ignorant of the emotions, intelligence and communications of other species. Now, we know better. Studies have confirmed what we already knew – other species experience feelings like frustration, pain, fear, affection, joy and pleasure. No more excuses – when we keep intelligent, sentient, communicative, social beings in small, bare spaces, tied up, living lives full of fear and chronic stress, WE KNOW we are causing injury, pain and suffering. 

We can see the effects on the animals, the repetitive pacing, rocking, swaying and bobbing heads tells us they are going out of their minds because they cannot escape the abusive environment in which they find themselves.

The evidence is in. Traveling shows cannot provide for the physical, behavioral and psychological needs of wild animals. Severe confinement in barren conditions, malnutrition, lack of exercise and restriction of natural behaviors, results in animals prone to health, behavioral, and psychological problems. Welfare is always compromised. 

Circus animals are routinely subjected to violence and brutal training methods; weapons include whips, shovels, golf clubs, iron bars, bullhooks, and electric shock devices; almost anything will suffice. And large, potentially dangerous wild animals present a clear public safety hazard, which is addressed with brutality. Deaths and injuries to animals, trainers and the public are far too common. 

Poor government agency oversight and monitoring to enforce existing regulations is extremely costly and has come under repeated criticism – including from the Inspector General. Nominal licensing fees and minimal monetary penalties do not cover oversight costs – so taxpayers bear the burden. Federal oversight of traveling animal acts is problematic, unmanageable, and costly for American taxpayers. Worse yet, it’s just not working. 

Let’s get the reluctant, unwilling animals out of entertainment – human-only performance shows are popular and creative, providing jobs for eager human entertainers rather than suffering for abused animals.  

If you are not in the US but have friends or family there, ask them to help.

Go to and see what you can do. Do it now.

The ADI Wildlife Sanctuary



After a long and difficult 18 months working in Guatemala, our Operation Liberty circus rescue is drawing to a successful conclusion, with 21 animals removed from circuses. With such large numbers of ex-circus animals needing space, ADI decided that it was time for us to build our own sanctuary.

For the past 16 months, we purchased land and have been building the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa. We are currently home to 26 lions, all but one are those we rescued from circuses in Peru and Colombia. Early in the New Year, with our permits finally in place, we will welcome 17 new residents – 12 tigers and 5 lions from our Operation Liberty circus animal rescue in Guatemala.

The first three of the Guatemala rescues found a wonderful home at Big Cat Rescue in Florida – Kimba, Simba and Max – our three musketeers are settling in, enjoying the peace, respect and care they deserve – our grateful thanks to Big Cat Rescue.

In a wonderful gesture of support for the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue has announced a matching grant for the installation of an ecological waste disposal and water filtration system (not an easy project for us to fundraise!). This system will ensure our sanctuary is friendly to the local environment and wildlife, conserves water for use on plants and general work, and helps us to be self-sustaining, building on the long-term welfare of our residents.

Big Cat Rescue has offered a matching grant of $50,000 towards the $100,000 required for the drains and reedbed filtration system – can you help us get this matched?

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Please do check out our video on YOUTUBE ‘This is the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary’ – see what our current residents are up to – enjoy!

ADI Wildlife Sanctuary website:


Sky’s answer on torture of Tai does not impress

As Tai and the other elephants at Have Trunk Will Travel/The Preserve, continue to existing in abject misery, deprivation, beatings and electric shocks, Sky doesn’t want to address the cruelty behind the scenes in their new An Elephant’s Journey production. Here is their stock answer:

Thank you for contacting us about An Elephant’s Journey and thank you also for your patience whilst we investigated your complaint.
The film concerns a circus elephant named Flora who is no longer able to perform her tricks. To prevent any harm coming to Flora, the circus owner’s daughter decides to sneak her out of the circus, starting a long journey to freedom.
The work was passed uncut by the British Board of Film Classification and it is in their remit to raise any concerns around animal welfare in films which they did not do on this occasion, as they noted no noticeable mistreatment of the elephant seen within the film. Additionally, during the end credits there is text notifying viewers that the American Humane Association were satisfied that no animals were harmed during the filming.
We take animal welfare extremely seriously and, on this occasion, are comfortable that the production complies with the appropriate rules as set out by the American Humane Association and has also been approved by the BBFC for broadcast in the UK.
Kind regards
The Sky Team

I can assure The Sky Team that the above does not represent any kind of investigation of the facts, or sense of duty for pushing a production where animals suffered behind the scenes. Your focus on the fantasy story does not mean that Tai and her companions should experience pain and suffering for your to plug your new product.
You could have contacted ADI to see the footage yourself. Or watch it on YouTube.

If you had asked ADI, we could have explained to you that the American Humane clearance is based on their observers seeing no cruelty on set. People who beat and electric shock animals do not do it in front of anyone. It happens during the real training, back at the ranch, where nobody can hear the screams.
Your response sounds dismissive and uncaring.
Extremely unimpressed.

Abused elephant Tai’s suffering ignored by Sky and FJ Productions

HTWT (now The Preserve) owner Kari Johnson

In an appalling move, Sky (shame on them) is featuring a production called ‘An Elephant’s Journey’, (previously entitled ‘Saving Flora’ in the US).

ADI filmed owners and workers at Have Trunk Will Travel, California (now moved to Texas and called The Preserve), violently and brutally beating and electric shocking elephants as the animals screamed in pain. When ADI sent the evidence to FJ Productions and pleaded with them to use CGI instead of live animals, it was ignored.

Performing elephants are taken from their natural lives, families and habitat, transported on terrifying journeys across the world, beaten and electric shocked into submission, and suffer a life of fear, pain and misery, for just a few minutes of entertainment.  And clearly, for profit for companies like Sky and FJ Productions.

Sky should be ashamed to be showing this revolting and disgraceful depiction of abuse of intelligent, emotional and social beings for a few minutes of entertainment.

Please join ADI in urging Sky to do the right thing and instead of supporting the violence inflicted on Tai, to drop ‘An Elephant’s Journey’ from its broadcast schedule and online store. Contact them today at or send a message through Sky.

Find out more:


Tarzan and Tanya’s story on Valentine’s Day

ADI has been full steam ahead on building our new ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa since we purchased the property last August. So far, we have built 12 enclosures, planted trees, built brick night houses and platforms/shelters for the cats to see the views. We received our permit to operate the sanctuary and have permission for all of our large cats. By the end of this year, our sanctuary will be home to over 40 big cats, rescued from circuses. See our progress at:

At the same time, ADI has been working this past year with Guatemala’s wildlife and animal welfare officials on enforcement of their country’s ban on animal circuses. We have rescued 21 lions and tigers so far, who are being cared for and prepared for export at our Temporary Rescue Center in Guatemala.

Today, we are telling the story of Tarzan and Tanya, two ex-circus lions at our Temporary Rescue Center – let me paint the picture for you – as the sun sets in Guatemala, lions Tanya and Tarzan snuggle up together and Tarzan begins to wash Tanya’s head. These two beautiful, life-long companions express the kind of bond of love that we all recognise on Valentine’s Day – one that has carried them through the toughest of times.

Tarzan and Tanya spent 8 long years in a small, bare circus cage. At some point during that time, Tarzan was in a fight with a tiger. It must have been horrific and very bloody. His lower lip was torn away from his jaw, and still droops down to this day. His untreated, broken, and infected teeth – commonly seen in circus big cats – left Tarzan in constant pain.

As soon as we rescued Tarzan from the circus, we scheduled him for field dental surgery – his transformation was remarkable. Where he had been subdued and cautious, within days his inner kitten emerged and he began to play. The sight of dear Tarzan playing brought tears to everyone’s eyes.

Tarzan’s companion, Tanya, is small, but brave. She is Tarzan’s protector, patrolling to keep others away from him, and it seems likely that the scars on her face are from her trying to defend him during that savage tiger encounter. While she watches over and guards him, Tarzan is a soothing influence on Tanya, calming her if she gets spooked.

With your help this courageous and loyal lion couple love will be spending their next Valentine’s Day roaming a huge natural enclosure at the new ADI Wildlife Sanctuary. We also hope to undertake surgery to repair Tarzan’s lip once he gets to his forever home.

See Tarzan and Tanya’s story:

I am in Guatemala right now as we work towards the relocation of Tanya and Tarzan and the other lions and tigers to their new homes and provide for all of their urgent needs in our temporary facilities.


Give a Valentine’s Day donation for Tanya and Tarzan’s care and to help them to their new life
Donate US $:
Donate UK £:
You can give the purr-fect gift to the one you love, and adopt Tarzan, Tanya, or one of our other rescued lions, as a gift here:
Adopt US $:
Adopt UK £:

NYC votes to end wild animal circuses!

EALERT BANNER 21.06.2017 V3

Congratulations New York City! As of tonight’s vote, wild animal circuses are consigned to history in NYC. Years of persistent campaigning and especially the work of CM Mendez has finally won through and we have the vote that just makes sense. Traveling circuses have no place in modern society.

Steady progress across the US over past few years has seen the number of jurisdictions making the change rapidly increase – now over 70 – joining nearly 40 countries around the globe whose governments have decided that it is time for the suffering in the name of entertainment to end.

A good day for animals.

Now support TEAPSPA – the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act in Congress. Let’s get this DONE.



What I love about this 60 Minutes show, is that the producers took the time to understand what it takes to get to the point where we can empty an entire country of all its circus animals. A decade of work involves the undercover investigations to gather evidence; the public education to spark and define the laws; intense work with government officials to plan and execute seizures of illegal animals. In under 15 minutes, 60 Minutes covers the whole story including the joyous finale where the lions return to their native land.

Without the investigations, scientific, legal and economic research, public education campaigns and new laws to protect animals, there are no rescues. Rescuing every circus animal in Peru, and taking the first nine of the now-outlawed Colombian circus animals, was a huge achievement. Just as we did in Bolivia (see ‘Lion Ark’

The changes must be permanent, we must ensure the captive animals can never be replaced.

These rescues have educated governments, officials and the public to see these animals in a new light – intelligent, emotional individuals, lovers of their families and freedom to live as they choose, in their natural environment. Understanding their place on our shared planet.

There is more to do. More countries need help to make this happen.

Please help investigations–education–awareness leads to animal protection laws = rescues = lasting change:

Watch CBS 60 Minutes and help us do more–

Donate US $
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Donate via Paypal & Euros

Finally, a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to all the amazing, generous ADI supporters whose donations made this happen, and very SPECIAL THANKS to Bob Barker and the DJ&T Foundation, and The Greater Good.

Lions speak on 60 Minutes, and animal circus news

2017 so far, has been about giving animals their voice – spectacled bear Dominga gave voice on her arrival in her new forest home in Peru (number 109 on the Spirit of Freedom rescue, pictured). She is now next door to spectacled bears Cholita, Lucho and Sabina.


In the UK, I attended a meeting with the Prime Minister’s team on animal circuses and the ivory trade on the very same day that yet another Private Member Bill on animal circuses (similar to the government’s bill) was blocked. The five-year wait for the government bill to be introduced is shameful and embarrassing. 95% of the British public are in support and for the 2015 General Election, all major parties promised a wild animal circus ban. Thus 98% of MPs stood on a manifesto promise to end the use of wild animals in mobile shows. In the next two weeks, together with ADI VP Tim Phillips, I’ll be presenting our film Lion Ark in the Italian Parliament and then we will be in the US for the introduction of a bill in the US Congress.

The 60 Minutes crew much enjoyed the lions’ morning song during the interview at ADI’s temporary rescue facility near Lima, Peru – the lions interrupted the interviews and ensured they got the attention they wanted! The CBS team made a special clip:

Lions interrupt 60 Minutes interview

If you are in the US, tonight (7pm ET/PT), the CBS 60 MINUTES show airs their feature on par of ADI’s Spirit of Freedom, about the airlift of the 33 African lions from Colombia and Peru to their native Africa:

Rescued ex-circus lions update


The lions have spent the months since their arrival at Emoya in South Africa, becoming familiar with their new environment in their bonding camps, reconnecting families and friends, new friendships have been made and we have been busy with extensive veterinary and dental work for broken teeth and infected gums, treatments for nerve damage affecting eyesight, balance and tongue control – all the result of blows to their heads in the circuses.  ADI is funding veterinary care, food, supplements and other supplies as well as some staff, at around $12,000/month.

Many groups are now out in their 2.5-5 acre circular permanent habitats, living as close to their natural life as we can get. Leo (pictured) is living with his mate Muñeca and daughters Africa and Kiara.

Now, we need to raise another $100,000 to build the permanent habitats for the final family groups. These large-scale rescues have made a huge impact on public awareness as well as helping governments to protect animals and have long-term solutions for animals that cannot be returned to the wild. We must complete the work.


Help us raise the permanent homes for these deserving lions, like Ricardo (pictured):