In a heartrending tale, Ruben the lion spent five years in utter silence as the sole resident of an abandoned zoo. Condemned to solitary confinement in a cramped cage, the 15-year-old lion had lost his voice.
However, a ray of hope emerged when a British animal charity intervened to rescue him and give him a chance to roar once again.
Jan Creamer, representing Animal Defenders International, revealed that the lonely zoo, located in the Artsakh Republic, had belonged to an Armenian businessman. After his passing, the other animals were rescued, but there was no place for Ruben.
She explained, “Lions thrive in social groups, and roaring is their way of communication. Ruben has never experienced the warmth of the sun or the caress of the wind on his face.”
Fortunately, Ruben’s fate is about to change as plans are underway to relocate him to a sanctuary in South Africa, where he can regain his voice.
The delicate rescue operation required meticulous planning and strategic timing to avoid escalating regional tensions, monitored by a Russian peacekeeping force.
The businessman’s family, recognizing Ruben’s desperate need for a better life, graciously consented to the move, which involved navigating numerous armed checkpoints.
After being sedated and cared for by a veterinarian, Ruben embarked on a nine-hour journey to a bear sanctuary near Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
The Foundation for Preservation for Wildlife & Cultural Assets (FPWC) oversees the sanctuary. Eventually, Ruben will be transferred to an ADI sanctuary in South Africa that specializes in housing lions and tigers.
Years of isolation and limited nourishment have left Ruben with health issues. However, as he adjusts to a nutritious diet and the comforts of a hay-bed, heated room, and a 30ft by 15ft enclosure, his once-matted and dull coat is regaining its luster.
Jan Creamer stated, “This is the most space he has ever known, but the true transformation will occur in Africa, where he will have access to 2.5 acres of natural habitat.
His muscles have weakened due to lifelong confinement, and he displays signs of neurological damage to his spine and head.
Additionally, one of his legs is unsteady and drags. Nevertheless, Ruben is showing promising progress with exercise and proper nutrition.”
Ruben’s interaction and engagement with humans have rekindled the hope that he will roar again.
His calls went unanswered for half a decade, but the rescuers are confident he will regain his voice and find solace in his new home.
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