After being confined to a small cage for five years as the only animal in an abandoned zoo, 15-year-old Ruben the lion fell silent. But with the help of a British animal charity, Ruben is now learning to roar again.
Although the majority of the animals in the zoo were rescued after the owner passed away, Ruben was still left behind!
Sadly, there was no room for him [Ruben]. Lions live in family groups and roaring is chatting to them,” said Jan Creamer, of Animal Defenders International. “He is still trying to roar. Ruben has never felt the sun on his back or the wind in his face.”
Fortunately, Ruben was finally saved, all thanks to this British animal-charity, and now he has a new life. Ruben’s rescuers, who had to secretly plan and strategically time the operation to avoid inflaming tensions in the region, hope he will find a home at a sanctuary in South Africa and regain his roar.
After being sedated and under the care of a vet for a nine-hour journey, Ruben was safely transported to a converted bear sanctuary near Armenia’s capital, Yerevan. He will be taken to an ADI sanctuary in South Africa for lions and tigers. Born in captivity, Ruben’s health was affected by his years of isolation and poor diet. But with a healthy diet and comfortable living conditions, his coat is now shiny and his health is improving.
“This is more space than he has ever known but the real transformation will be in Africa where he will eventually have access to a very large natural habitat,” Creamer said. ” Being kept so long inside cages have weakened his muscles…but we are building him up with exercise and food and he is responding well.
“Ruben is now engaging and interacting with people which is wonderful to see. His calls went unanswered for five years but we are confident that he will roar again.”