Once Rejected Lion Named Kesari Finds His Forever Home At Animal Defenders International Wildlife Sanctuary In South Africa

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A rescued male lion named Kesari has started his new life at the Animal Defenders International (ADI) Wildlife Sanctuary (ADIWS) in South Africa after a two-year search for a home.

Sadly, Kesari had been rejected by his pride at the Pretoria Zoo, and with nowhere to go, spent most of his time in a night-house. There was concern that if Kesari was not rescued, he could have become the victim of trophy hunting which is rampant throughout Africa.

Fortunately, at the request of conservation group Captured in Africa Foundation, ADI placed Kesari at the sanctuary which the organization founded one year ago after purchasing 455 acres of land in South Africa.

Hesitant at first, a playful Kesari emerged. With growing confidence, on his fifth birthday, Kesari, the first South African-born big cat at the sanctuary, was released into his main habitat. The gate was lifted and Kesari began to settle into his new home, where it is anticipated he will remain for up to 20 years.

“Our aim is to give these animals a life as close as possible to what nature intended. It has been wonderful watching Kesari blossom and grow into his new life. The animals we save all react differently. They have different characters and life experiences, so they must be allowed to decide what they want to do, and how they use their time. They must set the pace,” explained ADI President Jan Creamer in a statement sent to WAN. “We are looking forward to hearing Kesari use his voice and join in with the sunrise and sunset roaring of the rest of the lion residents. So far, he has tried a small roar, but checked himself; he’s not quite ready to announce himself yet.”

In March of this year, the first 27 lion residents arrived, having been rescued previously by ADI from circuses in Peru and Colombia. Another 21 lions and tigers have been rescued from circuses in Guatemala, and ADI plans to bring 18 of these to their new ADI Wildlife Sanctuary.

Kesari’s story highlights the critical need for homes for captive wildlife in South Africa.

The ADIWS education center, which is opening next year, will further raise awareness about wildlife conservation, the suffering of animals in captivity, animal protection, and environmental issues.

ADI has launched an appeal to raise funds for Kesari’s ongoing lifetime care, HERE!

Kesari, along with other lions at the sanctuary, can also be adopted HERE!

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