Joanna Lumley backs new sanctuary in Africa to help big cats in need

A celebrity-backed appeal has been launched for World Lion Day (10 August) to help Animal Defenders International (ADI) build a new wildlife sanctuary in South Africa. Providing a much-needed refuge for lions in their natural homeland, the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary will also help raise awareness of the needs of lions and other wild animals, and the threats they face both in the wild and captivity.

Acress and national treasure Joanna Lumley said: “Bravo to Animal Defenders International for providing sanctuary to animals in desperate need. Please support this wonderful cause and help provide a home from home for animals who have known only suffering and pain.”

US actor and television legend Ed Asner is also backing the new sanctuary: “Animals deserve to live free, not be exploited for entertainment. That’s why I support the work of Animal Defenders International, and their new sanctuary, a place these animals can at last experience love and kindness.”

The first residents at the 450+ acre sanctuary will be five lions – Tarzan, Tanya, Kimba, Nena and Sasha – rescued by ADI from circuses in Guatemala following a ban on animal acts. Just as the organisation has done in Bolivia and Peru, ADI is assisting the authorities with enforcement of the new law. Setting up and running a temporary rescue centre in the country, an experienced ADI team is caring for the lions until their relocation later this year.

Rescuing large numbers of animals – more than 100 were saved from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade in Peru – presents a challenge of sanctuary space. After years of investing in habitats for animals rescued from Colombia, Chile, Portugal, Mozambique, Bolivia and Peru, it was time for ADI to set up its own sanctuary, enabling the group to help even more animals. Having cared for rescued big cats in South Africa for more than 20 years, the country was a natural choice.

ADI President Jan Creamer said, “Having experienced a life of fear, pain and deprivation, animals coming home to the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary will enjoy a life of peace and freedom, in an environment as close to nature as possible. We hope the public and businesses alike will help ADI give animals in need a better life.”

To support the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, donate here: