A lion cub in Russia is learning to walk again after its legs were broken so that it would not run away from people taking pictures with it. In the shocking case of animal abuse, the lion cub was tied and beaten up so tourists on Russian beaches could take photos with it. The details of the crime were so shocking that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered an investigation into it, reports Metro News.
The cub, named Simba, was just a few weeks old when it was separated from its mother. It was then forced to pose for pics by captors who broke its hind legs to prevent it from escaping as it grew older and bigger.
“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, according to Daily Mail.
After being exploited last summer, the animal was dumped in a cold barn in the Russian region of Dagestan.
Rescuers flew Simba to specialist vet Karen Dallakyan, who performed an operation so the cub could walk again. A video shared by the vet on Instagram shows Simba taking a few tentative steps and learning to walk again after the operation.
“Evil photographers break bones like this so that wild predators cannot escape and behave calmly for pictures,” said Dr Dallakyan, who has shared a number of updates about Simba on Instagram.
The vet also informed Mr Putin of the cub’s conditions during a lockdown video-conference with ecologists, reportedly saying “We do not see any criminal case opened”.
“Thank you, I wrote down what you said,” the Russian president responded.
Dr Dallakyan said that a criminal investigation into the case is now underway.