The treatment of Simba, a lion cub, was so shocking that Vladimir Putin personally ordered a criminal investigation into the cruelty. Simba was taken from his mother when he was just a few weeks old and forced to pose for pictures with tourists. Last summer, after being exploited, Simba’s captors broke his legs to prevent him from running away as he grew older and bigger. Reports indicate that Simba’s health rapidly deteriorated as he was subjected to torture and beatings, resulting in severe injuries to his spine that left him close to death.
Rescuers discovered the cub with mangled legs at distorted angles and covered in dirt
Simba was starving and close to death when he was saved by rescuers and is now learning to walk again
In a photo taken by the rescuers prior to its life-saving surgery, the cub can be seen playfully sticking out its tongue. The poor animal was discovered in a dire state, malnourished and barely able to move, tied up in a dirty and cold barn in the Dagestan region of Russia.
A video that is quite distressing to watch shows the helpless cub both before and after the life-saving surgery, as it slowly and painfully learns to walk again. In the footage, we can see a weak and emaciated Simba licking its paw and wincing in pain, as it struggles to clean itself and hold its clearly distorted hind legs off the floor.
According to Yulia Ageeva, who led the rescue mission to save the cub, he was practically starved, and for some inexplicable reason, water was constantly poured over him in the freezing cold. This was a truly heartbreaking situation.
Simba is seen stumbɩing around after surgery, his fur shaven, as he learns to rewalk
Simba is gently guided by a human helper who helps the cub navigate how to use his legs
The lion limps and stumbles around as he struggɩes to work out how to use his mended legs
Simba also suffered pressure sores, intestinal obstructions, and a wasting of muscle to his hind limbs.
Rescuers flew the cub to specialist vet Karen Dallakyan, who said he had suffered ‘an ocean of pain from humans’.
He said: ‘eviɩ photographers break bones like this so that wiɩd predators cannot escape and behave calmly for pictures (with tourists).’
The video fades to Simba after surgery as he stumbles forward, encouraged by a human who gently guides his hind legs.
The cub, sporting a shaved coat, staggers outside and tentatively plods around as he learns how to reuse his legs.
At one point the ɩimping lion even manages to break into a gentle jog.
The footage transitions to a clearly much healthier Simba, his luscious coat regrown, as he snuggles up to a giant teddy bear in his cage – a miraculous recovery for a cub who had been so crueɩɩy treated.
Simba’s life was saved by a specialist vet who said he had suffered ‘an ocean of pain from humans’. He is picturedaove after having life-saving surgery
Vladimir Putin was so shocked that he personally ordered a criminaɩ probe into the crueɩty faced by Simba, who is picturedaove after recovering from surgery
Simba stretches his neck up for a friendly scratch. Despite being on the brink of death when rescued, he has made a miraculous recovery.
Unfortunately, Simba has been left with permanent deformities.
Dallakyan shared details of the scandal with Putin during a lockdown video-conference with ecologists, emphasizing that no criminal case has been opened.
The Russian president responded, “Thank you, I have taken note of your comments.”
Simba, now healthier and fluffier, is seen snuggling up to his toy teddy bear inside his cage. The leader of the Kremlin has promised to take action against the animal torturer and any accomplices. Dallakyan, from Chelyabinsk, has stated that a criminal investigation is currently underway. The unnamed photographer, who worked with Simba last summer in Sochi, has denied torturing the animal and claims to have passed on the cub to new owners. The veterinarian stated that the cub’s recovery was nothing short of a miracle.