Australia Tradies' heartwarming sacrifice: Generous workers give up their weekends to build a sanctuary for retired circus lions completely free of charge
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A group of hardworking tradesmen have given up their weekends to build a sanctuary for retired circus animals.
A group of 13 handymen are helping to build a veterinary building and an enclosure for three 15-year-old lions at Zambi Wildlife Retreat in Wallacia, 60km west of Sydney, completely free of charge.
The structure will house wild cats Kovu, Kiara and Maisie, who arrived at the reserve following their last performance with the Lennon Brothers Circus in 2018.
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Tradesman Robert Gualtieri, 46, offered his labour after becoming inspired by co-founder, Donna Wilson, before he encouraged another 12 mates to join in.
'All my friends just come up out of the goodness of their hearts and help – it's unreal,' he told Yahoo News.
'They're all out here in the rain, working in their muddy boots and everyone's still going.'
Over the past year, Mr Gualtieri has spent a month's worth of work helping with the construction and landscaping.
Ms Wilson, Traci Griffiths and Silke Bader opened the retreat in 2012 as a home for exotic animals who were retiring from zoos, circuses, and the entertainment industry.
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A number of big cats, primates, exotic birds and farm animals reside in the shelter, which is run primarily off donations.
Ms Wilson said donations from the circus were being used to fund the new facilities and that Zambi was the only wildlife haven of its kind in Australia.
'We're not a zoo, we're a resort style retreat for animals,' she said.
At least 30 countries have already banned the use of exotic or all animals in circuses.
A national ban is yet to come into effect in Australia although many local councils have banned exotic animal circuses on council land.
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