Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Save The Big Cats at Zion!

Rabo Bank is about to put receivers into Zion Wildlife Gardens.

Zion houses over 36 cats and one of the largest collections of endangered big cat species in Australasia and certainly the largest in New Zealand.

 Mrs. Patricia Busch (mother of Lion Man Craig Busch) has put everything on the line to save the animals, and the park by lending her son, NZ$1.2 million  for paying out his previous business partner, his court case and also for bailing out the park. However, unexpectedly, and due to wanting to regain control of the companies, Craig Busch decided to wage a publicity campaign against his mother, with the use of the social media network Facebook.

Patricia Busch and her daughter Megan Busch, along with close friends and family, as well as a team of dedicated employees, have done everything to maintain the park. However, due to a series of deeply unfortunate incidents, Mrs. Busch is about to lose her farm, and all her land mortgaged to the bank.

 The park’s income has been drastically reduced, due to stopping of the wildlife encounters, the tragic death of a keeper, and the ongoing litigation between Craig, herself and the companies.

 If the receiver moves in, a collection of breeding pairs and big cat family groups of unique value will be lost, and sold off to other zoos. Some animals may die, and others may be put down, because there is nowhere to house them. In 2009 MAF suggested that euthanizing the big cats was a real possibility.

 The tragedy is, that these animals have grown up with the Busch family, who have raised many of them from cubs. Tigers and lions both, like people, become extremely attached to one of several handlers.

 These cats are representatives for the plight of their now highly endangered species, which are rapidly disappearing in the wild due to habitat loss, human encroachment, disease as well as poaching on a  scale of epidemic proportions..

Zion Wildlife Gardens and the Busch family dedication,to the conserving of these endangered big cats has helped to bring awareness to their plight. Zion wishes to become a flagship facility, where the captive breeding of these vunerable animals can be enhanced, and strong core values established for their future preservation in the wild.
Mrs. Busch is 70 years old, her only wish is to preserve these lions for Northland and New Zealand, and to continue looking after them. She is in the process of establishing a perpetual charitable trust which will preserve the lions and tigers for New Zealand, and is seeking the help of Northland and the New Zealand government to help the cats.

In the meantime, if the receivers move in this will have a devastating effect on the animals, as the bank intends to remove her and her family from the role of looking after them.
Mrs Busch and her daughter have lived with the animals, and looked after them since Craig left.  They have had a deep relationship with the cats since 2005, when many of the cats were born, her grandson has even taken off many of his holidays to assist and whilst cubs were being raised and the tigers and lions now have a deep bond with the family as a whole.

“If the receivers now move in the cats will be separated, some will be sold overseas, some will be re-housed and for those that cannot, will be put down” says Mrs. Busch.

“These animals are like our family and we know that we can keep breeding these endangered cats. It is such a shame that New Zealand will lose possibly one of the greatest big cat breeding facilities on earth today, simply because of a series of deeply unfortunate and tragic events.”
“A lot has happened but the wrong things have been reported in the media.”

“Firstly there was Dalu’s death Dalu did not die because of our animals, the tiger that killed him was brought from an overseas zoo. He was not raised or hand reared by us, he was half wild, this could happen at any park . The tiger concerned, as with any apex predator, saw an opportunity and unfortunately a man lost his life in the process.

“Tigers regardless of whether or not they are hand raised can be unpredictable due to their predatory natures.”

 “The other tragic event was my son’s problems with the assault. I initially lent him $650,000 part of which was to pay out his former business partner and his court work cost over $250,000 rose to $1.2 million for bailout, personal debts and various other costs of the Zion Park.”

“ Unfortunately my son started to behave inappropriately, because of work pressure, there was just pressure from everywhere, the animal issues, the debts, and the issue with his former partner, his celebrity status and the part growing like a mushroom before it was ready.  I think it was too much for him.”
“This park was not only his life work, it has become the families’ life work. Thousands of hours have been spent on this vision of a haven for Bengal tigers and a breeding programme, we have achieved the impossible only to see it being destroyed before our very eyes. I despair to see this happening to the cats.  I want New Zealand to help me save the cats in fact for New Zealand. “ Mrs Busch concluded
Yesterday Rabobank promised that they would get back to our lawyers Equity Law, to day without warning Price Waterhouse came on the premises and wanted to take control . Price Waterhouse refuse to sit down with us and our lawyers and are intent on taking over the park. If this occurs there could be serious repercussions for the welfare of the animals as the animals are used to us as handlers. It appears that neither Rabo Bank nor Price Waterhouse are interested in the welfare of these animals and Equity Law is now in the process of applying for injunction and court remedies to preserve the animals .
Mrs Busch wants to save the animals and the facility for Northland and New Zealand and is in the process of establishing charitable trust . In the  meantime help and support from the community to save these beautiful and rare creatures is sought.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Zion Wildlife Gardens extends the Half Priced Tour Weekends into August

Zion Wildlife Gardens has announced that it has extended its Half Priced Tour Weekends until the end of August 2011.

Half Price on ANY Tour every weekend through out the months of July and now August will mean everyone can get the chance to come and visit the big cats at ZWG  for a unique experience.

Chat with a Cheetah, say hello to our oldest resident Foxy the Chacma baboon.  View our beautiful resident white lions, tigers and other beautiful cats at our facility.


9:30 a.m.   11:00 a.m.  12:30 p.m.  2:00 p.m.   3:30 p.m.

Bookings email zion@zionwildlifegardens.co.nz or phone 09 435 0110

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Zion Wildlife Gardens July Specials! Half Priced Weekends!


Half Priced Weekends for the entire month of July. Visit Zion Wildlife Gardens during any weekend in July and pay only half price on any tour. Come and see the big cats at play on a Saturday or a Sunday!


One child Free with every paying adult during the school holidays on weekdays. A great way to get the kids out and about and learn about big cats.


9:30 a.m.   11:00 a.m.  12:30 p.m.  2:00 p.m.   3:30 p.m.


Phone 09 435 0110 or email zion@zionwildlifegardens.co.nz

Zion Wildlife Gardens, Gray Rd, Kamo, Whangarei.

Happy 10th Birthday Jahdu!

 A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY! to the gorgeous Jahdu who turned 10 years old today. Jahdu is a male White Bengal Tiger who loves his dinner.!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Big Cats have an enriching time at Zion

Amafu enjoying her new big cat toy on a sunny winter's day

The big cats at Zion Wildlife Gardens had a wonderful and fun surprise in Kamo Whangarei, when some very special big cat toys were delivered to the park on Wednesday 8 June.

The toys were donated by the
UK based charity group Toyz for Cats at Zion. They were ordered from Boomer Ball in the USA and were sent all the way to New Zealand for delivery to the park.

The group was formed in December of 2010, and in that short time have worked hard to raise the funds to purchase the toys, now at Zion Wildlife Gardens.

Enrichment for captive animals is an essential part of improving their lives.

Zion already have an enrichment programme in place, this donation of big cat toys will enhance that programme. It will provide variety to alleviate boredom, and most of all lots of play. 

Big cats can sleep up to 18 hours a day. 

They weren't sleeping on Wednesday, not with all that fun to be found !

Several toys were placed in some of the big cat's enclosures to play with. 

They had so much fun, especially two of the white lionesses Imvula and Amafu who acted like great big kittens.

Another was Tygo, the largest of the Royal White Bengal tigers that are currently resident at the park. He had his toy in his water trough 
and proceeded to try and drown his 'prey'. 

It gave visitors to the park that day a lot of pleasure and enjoyment, not to mention that Tygo certainly enjoyed being the centre of everyone's attention.

Zion Wildlife Gardens would like to thank Toyz 4 Cats at Zion for their kind and generous donation of these wonderful toys. 

Monday, 20 June 2011

Urgent Message for Craig Busch


Please phone your mother urgently and privately. It would be appreciated if anyone who is in contact with him pass on this message.