Instagram | @karendallakyan

Young Lion Cub Rescued From Tourist Trap Learns To Walk Again

Amy Pilkington 18 Jun 2020

We may still debate over what happened to Carole Baskin's second husband, but one thing we can all agree on about the Tiger King phenomenon is that it shed light on the questionable practices of the big cat breeding and tourism industry.

The exploitation of big cats for profit isn't new, nor are people's attempts to expose bad actors and rescue animals in need, but with greater mainstream awareness comes more resources, which allow rescue groups to save even more cats from terrible situations.

Wider awareness of rough treatment will hopefully also dissuade tourists from supporting abusers monetarily.

Instagram | @karendallakyan

Which is why as the insanity of 2020 leaves us baffled that the Tiger King boom was only a couple of months ago, it's important to keep highlighting stories of big cat rescues so that the awareness doesn't fade away again.

One such story of abuse and rescue is that of Simba, a young lion found discarded in Russia after he had outlived his usefulness to his abusers.

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Please note that the description of Simba's injuries may be upsetting, but there is a happy ending, I promise.

Instagram | @karendallakyan

When a rescue group led by Yulia Ageeva heard that there was an injured lion trapped in a barn in the Dagestan region of Russia, they hurried to its location. There they found young Simba tethered inside the abandoned property.

He was starving and freezing, with numerous injuries that had clearly been inflicted upon him by human hands. His spine was injured and his legs purposely broken.

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It appears that he had been taken from his mom as a baby to be used in tourist photoshoots.

Instagram | @karendallakyan

When he began to grow larger, his legs were broken to prevent him from running or fighting against his captors. Eventually, he became too unruly for the tourist trap to continue profiting off of him, so he was beaten and left for dead in the barn.

The rescuers transported him to specialist veterinarian Karen Dallakyan for treatment.

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Upon inspection, Simba was also found to have numerous pressure sores, intestinal obstructions, and his muscles had atrophied from lack of use.

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Dallakyan immediately started treatment, performing surgery to fix as much of the leg and spinal injuries as possible, as well as removing the intestinal blockages. It was a success, though sadly, Simba will always be permanently deformed by his abuse.

Once out of surgery, Simba began the long road of healing and physiotherapy needed to become strong and healthy once more.

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One of the first things Simba needed to do was learn to trust humans again, and he quickly became attached to Dallakyan.

Instagram | @karendallakyan

The removal of the fecal stones that had been blocking his digestion made a huge difference on Simba's appetite, and he was able to eat and drink to his heart's content.

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Finally, after a month of careful rehab, Dallakyan shared a video of Simba walking out into the yard all on his own.

After a tentative shuffle, Simba appears happy to just rest in the first patch of sunlight he finds, but after some extra vocal support from his doctor, the big cat even manages some playful prancing!

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The more time he has to heal, the more of Simba's playful side has been revealed.

Instagram | @karendallakyan

His story has even brought enough awareness to the issue of big cat abuse in Russia that President Vladimir Putin personally arranged a criminal investigation into the matter.

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On June 15, it was decided that they would celebrate Simba's recovery and estimated first birthday.

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He was given a ton of gifts and treats, and in the video shared on the rescue's Instagram, you can really see how far the young cub has come. He plays with his new toys and frolics with his human family.

h/t: LADbible, Science Times

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