Ruben, a 15-year-old lion, found himself in a heart-wrenching situation in an abandoned zoo in Armenia. For nearly five years, he was the sole inhabitant of this once lively zoo. While the other animals from the zoo had been relocated to various places, somehow, Ruben was always left behind. But, in August 2023, his fortune took a turn for the better. Ruben was finally rescued and relocated to a sanctuary in South Africa, where he was given a new lease on life.
Ruben, the World’s Loneliest Lion, was saved and brought to a wonderful Sanctuary out in South Africa, where his life has officially changed for the better!
The compassionate team at Animal Defenders International (ADI) revealed that Ruben spent five agonizing years in a stark concrete enclosure. This prolonged confinement led to a significant decline in his muscle strength and movement. As the days, months, and years went by, Ruben’s health suffered from poor nutrition and a stark absence of physical activity. For such a majestic creature, a balanced diet and adequate exercise are indispensable.
Jan Creamer, the President of ADI, emphasized how lions, being the most sociable big cats, thrive on interaction. It must’ve been heart-wrenching for Ruben to be isolated from his kind for so long.
With the collaborative efforts of ADI and Qatar Airways Cargo, Ruben embarked on a 5,200-mile journey to the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in Free State, South Africa. And yes, he reached his destination both punctually and without a hitch.
Upon his arrival, a dedicated veterinary team assessed him. The sanctuary, eager to aid his rehabilitation, designed his space with ramps, guard rails, and other mobility tools, allowing him to navigate with ease. Witnessing Ruben’s willpower, the staff marveled at his daily progress. The moment he felt grass under his paws, instead of cold concrete, it was clear: Ruben was finally where he belonged.
Ruben’s interactions with fellow lions brought life back to his once-silent roars. Every morning, his calls resonate louder, showcasing his regained confidence and spirit. Before his rescue, years of solitude had made him apprehensive. But now, thanks to his rescuers, Ruben’s fears have faded into the past.
Ruben’s journey to recovery might be long, but he surprises the staff and even himself with his resilience every single day. Sure, there are moments when he stumbles or wavers, but he always manages to get back on his feet and press on. He’s genuinely inspirational.
The vast ADI Wildlife Sanctuary spans 455 acres and is home to 32 other rescued lions and tigers.
For more heartwarming stories and updates on Ruben, follow ADI on all their social media platforms, including YouTube.
There’s a lesson in Ruben’s spirit for all of us. Keep shining, Ruben! We’re rooting for you!