Lion cub’s legs deliberately broken so it can’t run away from tourists taking selfies with it
A photographer broke a lion cub’s back legs on purpose so it could not avoid tourists taking selfies with it on the beaches of Russia.
President Vladimir Putin was so appalled by the news that he personally ordered a criminal investigation in the harming of the sweet baby lion, called Simba.
A disturbing video shows the helpless animal before surgery, and later on, as he slowly and painfully has to learn to walk again.
The baby lion was only a few weeks old when it was taken from his mother and forced to pose for photos with tourists.
After taking advantage of the lion last year, the cub’s legs were broken as it was growing so it could not escape.
According to reports, the performing lion became sick and was ‘tortured and beaten’ by the people exploiting it, who badly injured his spine and left him on the verge of death.
Simba was abandoned, almost unable to move, in a filthy, cold barn in Russia’s region of Dagestan.
‘He was practically not fed, and for some reason in the frost water was constantly poured over him,’ rescue mission leader, Yulia Ageeva said.
‘This was a real hell.’
A rescue team saved the animal from its dreadful state and it was flown to expert veterinarian Karen Dallakyan, who said Simba had suffered ‘an ocean of pain from humans’.
‘Evil photographers break bones like this so that wild predators cannot escape and behave calmly for pictures [with tourists].’
Mr. Dallakyan from Chelyabinsk performed the surgery on Simba and the little lion can once again walk even though it has been permanently deformed.
In addition, it got intestinal obstructions, pressure sores, and atrophy of the muscles of its back limbs.
Mr. Dallakyan spoke to the president regarding the case during a lockdown video conference with ecologists, noting:
‘We do not see any criminal case opened.’
To which Mr. Putin replied:
‘Thank you, I wrote down what you said.’
The president made a promise to get authorities to take action against the animal abuser and any others involved. The veterinarian said an investigation into the matter has been opened.
The photographer, who has not been identified, denied he had abused the animal, and said he had given Simba to new owners.
According to Mr. Dallakyan, the little lion’s gradual recovery was a ‘miracle’. The footage shows Simba getting lessons in walking on his path to recovery.
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