Two rescued circus lions have died in a South African sanctuary.
According to the organisation that arranged the rescue and airlift operation, Animal Defenders International, the two lions were struck down by a botulism toxin.
The toxin is a naturally occurring toxin that most lions are resistant to and if infected are usually successfully treated.
The death of these lovely lionesses, who loved their new home at Emoya so much, has come as a devastating blow to the whole team.
“Kala and Rapunzel appear, for whatever reason from their past (be it genetics and in-breeding, their disease or life history), especially susceptible,” noted the organisation on its website.
The two big cats are both lionesses rescued by ADI. The lions were part of 33 rescued big cats that were flown in the country in April.
“We know that the animals we rescue from a lifetime of malnutrition and abuse are always going to be vulnerable, despite our best efforts with food, veterinary treatment and vitamin supplements,” ADI explained.
The former circus lions were rescued from Colombia and Peru where they were found in poor conditions.
“The death of these lovely lionesses, who loved their new home at Emoya so much, has come as a devastating blow to the whole team,” noted the organisation.
The lions were put up in the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary as they could not be released to the wild because they had been de-clawed by their handlers.
Thirty-two countries around the world have nationwide restrictions on performing animals in travelling circuses.