Thirty captive lions, bred for human entertainment and gain in South Africa, have been euthanized after they were found by a welfare organization while helping animals affected by recent wildfires in the area. These magnificent creatures were emaciated; they had been starving long before flames engulfed their inescapable enclosure and left them with gruesome, painful injuries that their owner allowed them to suffer from for days with no care or relief. Apparently, the nearly 60 lions on the compound were only being fed if cattle, chickens, or wildlife nearby happened to die — nothing near large or consistent enough portions to keep these ravenous, imprisoned carnivores in good health. But then, the fires came and made everything far worse.
SPCA representatives found them in a sorry state from the inferno. Many were unable to stand from smoke inhalation, exhaustion, and starvation. A few of the lions were so badly choked with smoke that their lungs were filling up with blood, drowning them. Their paw pads were bare and bloody, leaving them unable to walk, groom, or interact at all with their sad, sorry world. One lion’s eyes literally exploded from the heat. All in all, 30 lions had to be humanely euthanized by the SPCA, who worked tirelessly to make sure their bodies were cremated so that they could not be further defaced and picked apart for profit and trophies.
Lions under South African law can be kept legally on farms for game hunting, circus use, ripping away cubs from their mothers for cub-petting experiences, and bone harvesting for use in some medicines. These lions are a national symbol of the very country that lets this kind of abuse happen. The South African Government must set an example for anyone else that would so neglect and abuse lions and other captive animals. Act now and demand this owner be charged, and that he be barred from ever keeping animals ever again!