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  • Rescuers Save Baby Lion Who Had His Legs Broken To Take Pictures With Tourists (With Updates)

Rescuers Save Baby Lion Who Had His Legs Broken To Take Pictures With Tourists (With Updates)

Posted in Cat Stories - Last Updated: April 8, 2023 - Author:  Jan Travell
Posted in Cat Stories 
Last Updated: April 8, 2023  
Author:  Jan Travell

Animals are too often the subject of human cruelty and it’s sometimes unbelievable the lengths that some people will go to just to put some money in their pocket.

The tourist industry has a lot to do with this and can often be brutal when it involves animals. Taking pictures with lions and tigers has always been a big moneymaker but it often comes with a price, the well being of the animals.

An extremely sad story about a young lion recently surfaced on the internet and shows just how rough this can be on the animals involved, especially when they are little.

(Scroll to the bottom for video of this whole story)


He was stolen away from his mother by a photographer when he was just a few months old with the aim of using him as a tourist attraction.

This nasty man then broke his legs and wounded his spine so that he wouldn’t be able to run away whilst having his photo taken with tourists.


Thankfully he was saved and taken straight to the vets for surgery and his life was no longer in immediate danger.

His rescuers named him Simba.


This horrific crime angered many people and word got back to the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, who immediately ordered a criminal investigation into the matter.

Simba was on the brink of death when he was rescued, his injuries were substantial but thanks to the amazing work of the doctors he is alive and well, although I’m sure it will take him some time to trust humans again.



He had spent most of his time tied up in a barn where he was forced to have his picture taken with tourists.

Yulia Ageeva, one of his rescuers said: “He was practically not fed, and for some reason, in the frosty weather, water was constantly poured over him. This was a real hell.”




Learning to play with toys was huge part of his recovery.

He also had to relearn how to walk, something he hadn’t done for quite some time.



With a lot of love and patience, Simba is now discovering what it’s like to be a baby lion.

These pictures, although some of them are horrific, will warm your heart when you see what a lot of care and attention can do to change an animal’s life.






A year down the line and Simba is now a healthy and happy lion.


UPDATE: Simba Gets a New Home

After much negotiations between Russia and Tanzania, Simba gets a new home.

He was transported in a specially converted aeroplane to make his journey as comfortable as possible.

simba in transit

This poor lion had been through so much, it's good to see that he is going to be amongst people that truly care for his well-being. 

He now resides at the Kilimanjaro Animal CREW Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, a wonderful location that has built spacious enclosures for all of the wild cats that live there.

simbas update

Because of his ordeal and terrible upbringing, Simba wouldn't be able to survive on his own in the wild - his new home gives him plenty of space to roam, with feline experts at hand to help him with any health issues.

Dr. Elisabeth Stegmaier, founder of the center explained: "When he came out [of his cage] for the first time, you could see he was like; 'My goodness,'  I suppose because he'd never had big and wide spaces in front of him. And yeah, I mean, you need to start somewhere, you know? He could not survive in the wild. So, what we can do is something that resembles for him being as wild as possible."

simba update

We all wish Simba a long and happy life in his new forever home.

Watch the video of his move to Tanzania below:

And in this video you'll see the whole Simba story:

If you liked this, then please share our story:

And while you're at it, leave a comment and tell us what you thought!

About the author

Jan Travell is a lifelong cat owner and a feline expert. She's been the Cats and Kittens lead editor from the start. She lives in rural France with her two rescue cats, Tigerlily and Mr.Gee. Her senior kitty, Ducati, passed over the rainbow bridge recently at the ripe old age of 22.

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