The little cub had been subjected to "an ocean of pain from humans."
Trigger Warning: This story contains graphic details of animal abuse that readers may find disturbing.
In some parts of the world, especially in Asia, posing with animals for pictures is a common tourist attraction and a money-generating practice. While there are a few places where these animals are cared for and loved, in some, they are tortured beyond imagination so that these 'wild animals' would behave like domesticated ones. In Russia, a little lion cub was forced to take photos with tourists, and the cub's hind legs were deliberately broken by photographers, reports Metro, so that it wouldn't try to run away or escape when tourists came to take photos with it. According to Daily Mail, this piece of information shocked Vladimir Putin so much that he ordered a probe into the cruelty that the little cub -named Simba- underwent.
The cub was only a few months old when it was snatched from its mother. Simba was then forced to pose alongside tourists who wanted pictures with the cub. Local reports state that Simba's health deteriorated rapidly, as he was "tortured and beaten", and he even suffered severe injuries to his spine that nearly claimed his life. Since Simba was unable to serve his purpose anymore, he was dumped, tethered in a dirty, cold barn in the Russian region of Dagestan, unable to move. "He was practically not fed, and for some reason in the frost water was constantly poured over him," said Yulia Ageeva, who led a rescue mission to save the cub. "This was a real hell."
He had to undergo surgery to help him walk again. However, he also suffered from pressure sores, intestinal obstructions, and a wasting of muscle to his hind limbs. Finally, rescuers flew Simba to specialist vet Karen Dallakyan, who said he had suffered "an ocean of pain from humans." He said, "Evil photographers break bones like this so that wild predators cannot escape and behave calmly for pictures (with tourists)." His surgery went extremely well and Simba was finally able to walk, and even break into a little trot at one point, but though his life was saved, he has been left with permanent deformities.
The photographer, however, says he had done nothing of the sort. He even mentioned that he had handed over the cub to a new owner. The vet said the cub's recovery was a "miracle" and told Putin about the pain and suffering Simba had to endure during a lockdown video-conference with ecologists. "We do not see any criminal case opened," he said. Putin replied by saying that he had noted down what the vet said and promised to get law enforcement to act against the animal torturer and any associates. Dallakyan, from Chelyabinsk, later updated that a criminal investigation is now underway.
People took to social media to comment on the distressing news. Claire Holmes wrote: Please don’t post this. The world is a horrid place just leave the poor innocent animals that trust humans and should be free to roam . We have tv programs and zoos or go on safari and see them in the wild. I have done that and it’s amazing to see how gentle they are . Humans or some of them are just sick. Would they like their legs broken. Treat animals and humans like you would be treated and a world would be a better place. Irene Whittington added: OMG how sad this made me cry. There some evil human beings on this planet for sure... I hope they can be caught and someone brake their famed legs so they don’t escape from prison!!!! Unfortunately that would make us as bad as they are.