Simba reached the news at the end of 2020 when he was used for pictures and a video clip by a Romanian artist. The material was shared on social media and since he was clearly injured, many people in Romania were shocked about it and this led to a public outburst. Luckily we could rescue him and since October 2021 he lives at FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary, where he finally gets the love and special care that he needs.
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Lonely and alone
After Simba reached the news, he was seized and brought to a local zoo. However not much later he returned to Picior de Munte in the southern part of Romania, since the owner has a permit to keep him, his siblings and his parents. After the separation Simba could not be reunited peacefully with his family and therefore he was kept separately in a small cage, where he could hear but not see his family. Without any distractions, he was lonely and alone.
From sadness to safety
After long negotiations with the owner, FOUR PAWS managed to convince the owner to handover Simba and his six siblings. On the 1st of October, 2021, after an exhausting rescue mission and a long journey, Simba finally stepped foot into his new home.
His release at FELIDA was an absolute pleasure: he was playing within minutes with enrichment and ever since, he has been busy playing, rolling and running around. The grass under his paws, all the new elements: he enjoys it all like a child in the playground.
However, despite his joyful behavior he is also the lion that worries us most. We clearly see that he has many health issues. Most likely a combination of malnutrition and inbreeding led to the fact he is very small. His spine is bend, his paws are in a strange position, he has teeth and sight problems and furthermore, when he is not playing or running around, he is showing some stereotypic behavior which can be a result of boredom in the past or pain.
November 2021: veterinary check and a new enclosure
We recently had Simba medically examined by specialised wildlife veterinarians. We know that Simba has physical problems that are comparable to the problems of Masoud and Terez. What we also see with Simba is that, even though he is a happy and playful animal for big parts of the day, his physical deformities and problems also play a role mentally. His eyesight is very poor, he shows stereotypical behavior by chewing/sucking his tail, and he cannot handle too many stimuli and distractions at the same time.
To give Simba more mental peace, we have moved him to our ‘special care unit’ for now. Here he gets less stimuli and we immediately notice that this has a calming effect on him. He also feels a bit safer here: because he does not see well, this smaller enclosure is more clear and therefore more comfortable for him. In addition, we can monitor him better here in the hope of helping him with his stereotypical behaviour.