The sad lions of the William Zavatta circus

  • On 12/03/2020
  • In News


What is going on with the lions of the circus William Zavatta? If the circus is relatively discreet since the complaints made by other associations, especially for the case of the lion Natcher (Sultan), when it arrives in town, it is far from going unnoticed with its big yellow trucks and their name "Zavatta" in red. And it has become a habit, regularly, people tell us about this circus. And what we discover, thanks to their help, is quite bizarre.

In each commune where we were able to visit the circus, between 2018 and 2020, the number of lions detained is never the same. Moreover, the circus rarely stays on site until the end of the dates indicated. Could this be a way to escape controls? However, in April 2019, thanks to the actions of one of our activists, the mayor of Cléry-en-Vexin contacted us. The circus has set up in its town, without permission, and performs there. He then had the posters removed by the police and even discussed with the circus in charge of advertising. He explains that there are no wild animals but only camels, horses and llamas. And yet...

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And if during the performance no wild animal is present, in a truck, roars are heard. Thanks to our volunteer, we learn that the lioness, named Gipsy is present. However, before the controls sent by the town hall, the truck with the lioness will leave. It is in gestation, according to a circus scientist. Just before, in Tourouvre, in March 2019, there were 5, then they went to 3. Even today, in March 2020, in Fains-Véel, there were 3. However, none of them is used during performances ... And in no town have the relaxation cages been set up, not even once! They are however compulsory.

But this is not the first time, nor the last, that this circus has played with the authorities. For years, the circus performed illegal displays. If the displays themselves are not, what is illegal is to have animals on board with announcements and loud music. And that's exactly what the circus did, with the lion Natcher (Sultan) but also with the lioness Betty. Today, the two are no longer in the circus. Where are they ? They do not belong to us, we are told, for the first time. Then, they would be in Paris, we are told. No more explanations. In any case, there is no point in continuing to look for them at the circuses, the young lions, aged 4, we took over ... But no longer any parade illegally. However, neither for Natcher, nor for Betty, nor for Gipsy, nor for the other lions, we will not give up. We are ready to exchange with the circus, if the latter wishes to place its lions, which are no longer used. It is not legal to keep them carrying them around without reason. And we could leave, in all friendship, once the animals are entrusted to our association and placed in a sanctuary. Do they not deserve it?


« [...]  I am not against a real courteous exchange with the circus. This chain of illegalities, is he aware of it? Some lions have - for too long - been used for illegal sound displays. These same lions are no longer present, today they are hidden ... Maybe they are even dead? Those they currently remain are not used during performances. However, the flyer highlights the tamer and his big cats. Why are they there? They do not have a relaxation cage in any of the municipalities visited. Why ? This is compulsory, maximum 4 hours per day. Why cover them regularly, and why are there never the same number of lions in the various cities of the tour? These are all questions to be answered.

Chapter Animals can take care of lions. We will entrust them to our partners, in sanctuaries. They can fly to South Africa to find the traces of their ancestors. It would be the most beautiful retreat, but also a real proof of love, rather than letting them languish in their cage truck. »

Julien, fonnder de Chapter Animals






The #HelpTheLions campaign was launched after finding that many establishments did not comply with the legislation, however weak, concerning the conditions of detention of lions and more generally of big cats.

We therefore request, in the coming weeks, an improvement in conditions of detention. Otherwise, we will act so that the lions are removed from the establishment as soon as possible.  In the long term, we would like these same lions to be able to gain sanctuaries and live there in semi-freedom, far from the current parking lots and cage trucks.


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