Tanya and Tarzan, a loving lion pair rescued from a hellish life in a Guatemalan circus, celebrated their third Valentine’s Day in the peaceful environment they deserve at Animal Defenders International (ADI) Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa.

The duo has overcome immensely difficult times, spending seven years in a circus where they were confined to a small, desolate cage the size of a queen mattress, ADI said. When Guatemala rightfully banned wild animal circuses, ADI rescued the two from their horrific living conditions.

Once at the sanctuary, Tarzan had to undergo emergency surgery for his lip, which hung off his jaw after he reportedly got attacked by a tiger while in the circus. Tanya, being the loyal and brave companion she is, defended him – leading to permanent scars across her face and back.

Tarzan and Tanya

Tarzan and Tanya (Photo Credit: Animal Defenders International)

Tarzan’s lip now looks and feels better, thanks to a partial lip lift, so he can continue giving Tanya plenty of kisses.

Tanya and Tarzan now spend their days under the sun and in the grass, as all lions should. They continue to cherish each other and it shows. Tarzan still kisses Tanya goodnight every evening, demonstrating their profound bond.

tarzan bathing tanya

Tarzan bathing Tanya (Photo Credit: Animal Defenders International)

Before and after their trip to their now forever home, Tarzan reassured Tanya with a bath and plenty of cuddles. Their video went viral – capturing the hearts of people worldwide.

Even though the lion and lioness visibly carry wounds from the past, they enjoy their new life at the South African haven, where they are able to finally live in peace.

“The inspiring, heartwarming story of Tanya and Tarzan shows the incredible bond these lifelong companions share,” said ADI President Jan Creamer. “A bond which helped get them through the darkest of times. Together, they can now enjoy the happiest chapter of their lives.”

LFT applauds the life-saving work of ADI and their choice to give these rescued lions the best life they can have in as natural a setting as possible. See more animals they rescued from Guatemalan circuses here, and remember to never visit a circus or any other performing act that exploits animals.