WATCH: Roar footage - abused, malnourished Lichtenburg lion cubs finding their voices again

2019-06-04 14:06
Two lion cubs rescued from a breeding farm in Lichtenburg have shown incredible signs of progress.

Two lion cubs rescued from a breeding farm in Lichtenburg have shown incredible signs of progress.

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Two malnourished lion cubs rescued from a breeding farm in Lichtenburg have shown incredible signs of progress.

The cubs were rescued by the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) back in April.

Spokesperson Meg Wilson told News24 that the farm had housed in excess of 100 carnivores, living in terrible conditions. The animals were found in parasite-infested, overcrowded camps that were not cleaned, with no access to water or shelter. 

"Twenty-seven of the lions had a severe skin condition, which had caused them to lose their hair. The two cubs were found lying in their own faeces," Wilson said. 

The cubs couldn't stand and were dragging themselves across the floor and continually bobbing their heads.

Only the cubs were removed, as they required emergency veterinary attention.

They were diagnosed with malnutrition and meningoencephalitis, or inflammation of the brain.

Incredible strides

More than a month since the rescue, Wilson said they had made incredible strides.

"From not being able to move, they are starting to stand up. They are even getting their little lion personalities and are beginning to roar," she said.

A recent video clip shared by the NSPCA shows one of the cubs playing with some leaves, something they had barely touched before. 

They are currently being treated by a world renowned veterinarian with a special interest in carnivores. 

"The treating veterinarian is positive that they will make an excellent recovery," Wilson said.

"They may just still have the head bobbing, but should be able to function normally."

The farmer was issued with a warning and charges were laid based on several contraventions of the Animal Protection Act. The  NSPCA said they would continue to undertake inspections at the farm.

"The NSPCA is the only organisation that is ensuring that the lions in the captive lion industry are being cared for adequately," Wilson said. 

She said there were in excess of 400 farms that they were aware of around South Africa. 

"This is a huge strain on our already limited resources, so financial assistance would be appreciated." 

The NSPCA is also taking the Department of Environmental Affairs to the High Court with regards to the lion bone export quota. 

"We also implore the public to stop supporting facilities with wild animal interactions such as cub petting, walking with lions, elephant-back safaris and so on. As long as there is a demand – there will be a supply and animals will be exploited and the cruelty perpetuated."

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