Animal welfare organization Stichting AAP removed two severely emaciated tigers and a lioness from Portuguese circuses this week. The foundation found the animals in a terrible state. The tigers lived with amputated claws in a far too small circus wagon.
A real lifeline, the AAP Foundation came this week at the right time to offer a new future to the three wild animals. The animals were in poor condition. They looked like they didn’t have long to live, according to the AAP’s website. For example, the two tigers (11 and 16 years old) have almost no muscles and amputated claws. The oldest tiger has a large tumor under his tongue and kidney problems. The animals have spent their lives in a circus cart. The lioness (19), on the other hand, is too fat due to a much too fatty diet. According to the owners, she was kept as a pet. The animals are now receiving intensive medical care.
From 2025, it will be forbidden in Portugal to exploit wild animals in circuses. This is why many circuses are currently wondering what to do with their animals. Until 2025, they can voluntarily donate their wild animals. They will be forced to do so when the law comes into force in three years. In 2021, Portuguese circuses still had 17 wild animals. In 2009, when the first “circus law” stated that no new animals could be added, there were 170 in total.
Half-yearly rescue operation
The AAP Foundation is no stranger to Portugal. The Portuguese Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation ICNF knew about the organization through previous contacts. This is why the ICNF asked the Dutch foundation to collect the animals and provide them with a shelter. It took six months to organize the entire rescue operation, according to the AAP. And this week, it happened. Thanks to a major logistical operation – including anesthesia – they transported the two tigers and the lioness to their new future. AAP considers it an important step that an agreement can be reached with the Portuguese authorities to remove the suffering animals.
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The AAP Foundation had previously brought three alligators, three boas and four pythons from Portugal. All animals are now housed in AAP shelters in Spain and Germany. There, they will have to get used to their new surroundings and the guards. The story of these circus animals is not isolated. For example, the Dutch organization Wildlife Advocates Foundation has also announced that it is engaged in a major international campaign to: rescue four tigers from an abandoned wagon. The four animals had been abandoned by a circus in northern Argentina.
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