Life for Rescued Lions after Living in Closed Puerto Rico Zoo for Years

Life for Rescued Lions after Living in Closed Puerto Rico Zoo for Years

In late 2022, The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) was contacted by the Department of Justice with the massive task to rescue and rehome over 700 animals from the closed Dr. Juan A. Rivero Zoo of Puerto Rico (also known as the Mayagüez Zoo) along with a nearby detention center. A monumental endeavor as every single animal was in need of their own respective home in an accredited facility.

After months spent working nonstop in both locations in Puerto Rico, TWAS found new homes for the animals across the nation – including TWAS’ oldest facility located in Keenesburg, Colorado.

Among the 700 animals rescued were seven African Lions – one male, and six females. Since Puerto Rico’s only zoo was without power in most areas, the lions’ indoor concrete enclosures were subject to the heat and humidity of the island with the zoo’s closure in 2017.

Upon safely arriving to TWAS in Spring 2023, the lions began rehabilitation in acclimation areas as to adjust to their new environment accordingly.

They then moved into spacious, natural habitats, forming two separate prides after new diets and medical evaluations were implemented.

The 17-year-old male, Tsavo (pronounced Sav-oh), moved to a 20-acre habitat with four of the females. The remaining two, Chad and Malawi, joined a different male in their own 20-acre space located in close proximity to Tsavo’s pride.

Now fully adjusted to their habitats, all seven lions roar daily, both in response to the other Puerto Rico lions marking their new territory, and also with roars of neighboring prides.

When Winter arrived, they quickly become comfortable with colder temperatures in experiencing snow for the first time as all lions’ fur grows appropriately with different seasons. There is regular access to warm, underground dens as well.

Ranging in ages from three to seventeen, all seven will live out their lives at the Sanctuary.

The harrowing tale of the historic Puerto Rico rescue would not have been possible without the kindness and generosity of TWAS supporters from all over the world.

The story was also recently featured on an episode of 60 Minutes:

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the largest nonprofit carnivore sanctuary in the world, with over 900 rescued animals including Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wolves, Leopards along with other large carnivores and mustangs living in large natural habitats. Established in 1980, the Sanctuary operates three locations within Colorado and one in Texas with more than 30,000 acres available for abused, abandoned, and confiscated carnivores. TWAS specializes in rehabilitating captive wildlife so they can be released into natural habitats where they can roam freely and live with others of their own kind.

TWAS’ location in Keenesburg, Colorado is the only facility open to the public for education every day. For more information on the Puerto Rico rescue and how to support this Colorado nonprofit, its mission, and/or how to visit, please explore:

This is a paid sponsored content article from The Wild Animal Sanctuary.