He’s the mane attraction again.
Fifteen-year-old lion Ruben has finally returned to his natural habitat after being trapped in a concrete cell for five years – and became so lonely he lost his roar. per SWNS.
The lion was left in an abandoned zoo in Armenia after the death of its owner and the other animals were relocated – except for him. according to Animal Defenders International.
Now Ruben has been offered a second chance at life after completing the 5,200 mile journey from Armenia to the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in Free State. South Africa.
ADI President Jan Creamer said seeing Ruben’s first steps brought them all “to tears”.
“Lions are the most social of the big cats and live in family packs in the wild,” Creamer explained. “So it must have been devastating for Ruben to have no contact or communication with other lions.”
“When we first saw him walking across grass, hearing the voices of his peers, with the African sun behind us, we all cried,” Creamer continued.
The amazing journey was supported by Qatar Airways Cargo who pitched in with their charity initiative ‘WeQare’.
Qatar provided an aircraft with cargo hold doors large enough for Ruben’s crate.
When Ruben arrived his legs were shaking due to malnutrition and a lack of exercise – but the brief stay at the shelter had an impact on his behavior.
“His entire demeanor has changed, his face is relaxed and not anxious anymore,” Creamer said. “His determination to leave is inspiring.”
“If he stumbles or falls, he just picks himself up and keeps walking,” she added. “He’s downright heroic.”
Ruben showed this amazing resilience as soon as he stepped out of his traveling crate.
He immediately started playing with his so-called first toy – a giant punching bag filled with catnip.
And he’s even started to regain his roar now that he’s surrounded by other lions.
“Incredible, in just a few days his movement is already improving,” Creamer said.
“We know this will be a long road and will require ongoing veterinary care, but the start to his new life could not have been better.”