Kimba, Simba, and Max – Rescued From the Circus

*May contain graphic details not suitable for children*   Before TCWR TCWR has many new additions to the sanctuary that […]

*May contain graphic details not suitable for children*


Before TCWR

TCWR has many new additions to the sanctuary that have been rehomed from Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. Three of these new residents that have found their forever home here are tigers: Kimba, Simba, and Max. Although they had been living at Big Cat Rescue from November 2019 – September 2023, their stories started long before that. Before they were able to experience safety at BCR and now TCWR, they were being mistreated and abused at the Hermanos Ponce Circus in Guatemala. 

At this circus Kimba and Simba were forced to perform for visitors. Max likely never set foot outside of a small cage until the day he was rescued. Training for these acts often used inhumane methods to scare the tigers into doing what was wanted of them. When not performing, these tigers were kept in too small cages, likely forced to sit in their own excrement and be on display for touring throughout Guatemala. The feeding practices at this circus were also inhumane. The animals did not get the nutrition they needed and were fed only chicken feet. 

Simba in his new habitat at Freedom Field.

The Turning Point

Everything began to change in 2018 when the Guatemalan government banned the use of animals in circuses and invited Animal Defense International (ADI) to enforce this ban. Hermanos Ponce Circus did not want to give up its animals. The circus attempted to hide its animals at a roadside zoo to keep from losing them. At this roadside zoo, the animals were starving. Several tigers were caged together, one of which was Kimba. One day, an avoidable incident occurred when a worker stuck his arms into the cage. The tigers attacked the man’s arms, ripping both off. Locals threw rocks at the tigers and beat them with sticks because of this man’s incredibly preventable mistake. When the animals were finally located by ADI, they began working on getting them to freedom.

Kimba sunbathing in his new forever home.

Safe At Last 

Hermanos Ponce Circus surrendered their animals; however, ADI still witnessed direct abuse of Kimba before they were able to transport the animals elsewhere. He was being beaten with a metal rod, and ADI had to step in to stop the abuse. Kimba, Simba, and Max eventually made it to BCR and are now here at TCWR, enjoying continued safety in their Freedom Field habitats. Kimba is now 7 years old, and Simba and Max are 14 years old. 

Max playing with his toy.


Check out Max in his new forever home on



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