‘World’s Loneliest Lion’ Was Held Captive Alone For 5 Years But Kind Animal Rescuers Stepped In To Save Him

Wild animals are supposed to be running free in the wild or in a sanctuary where good people take care of them to give them a normal life, which they should have in the first place. However, there have been some animals who were held captive in a zoo for a long time to the point that they almost gave up on life.

This is exactly what happened to a lion named Ruben who was abandoned in a private zoo and never had any interaction with other animals. Fortunately, there were kind people from a British animal charity that went out of their way to give him the life that he deserved.

Jan Creamer of Animal Defenders International spoke with the Daily Mirror in September 2023 to detail the private zoo, owned by an Armenian businessman, where Ruben, who was born in captivity, was kept.

Unfortunately, the owner passed away, and all of the animals were rescued except for the lonely lion as there was “no room” for him.

Ruben, who was dubbed the “loneliest lion in the world” and the “world’s loneliest lion” became depressed to the point that he stopped making any noises. He also had health problems after being held captive for most of his life.

“His life-long restrictions have weakened his muscles and there appears to be neurological damage to his spine and head and one leg is wobbly and drags. But we are building him up with exercise and food and he is responding well,” Creamer said.

Finally, a ray of light was able to shine through as the British animal rescue group made a strategic plan to move him to the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa where he could hear more roars from his kind as he hadn’t heard any sound from other lions for over five years.

The big plan was finally set to begin in August 2023. Although they wanted the best for Ruben, his journey from the Armenian-Azerbaijan border wasn’t easy as they had to strategically plan his cargo and the mode of transportation.

Fortunately, the rescue group received a wonderful offer from Qatar Airways to use one of their large aircraft for the transfer. In addition, Ruben also had his own “first-class cabin” in the form of a crate which was specifically modified for him.

With the help of veterinarians, Ruben was sedated for a nine-hour journey to Yerevan, and he was later transferred to the wildlife sanctuary in South Africa to mingle with other lions and tigers.

The day finally arrived when the lonely lion set foot in the sanctuary. He was initially placed in a makeshift house in order to help him transition to the weather conditions, but as he stepped out of his temporary shelter with a barricade, he finally roared again.

As seen on a video uploaded on YouTube in late August 2023, Ruben immediately went out to touch the grass and could be seen being curious about his new surroundings.

In an updated video uploaded in September 2023, Ruben could be seen taking his first steps in Africa. Despite having a hard time walking due to his health condition, the lion appeared to be happier than ever as he played with a red bag filled with hay, ate a pumpkin and slept as the wind swept his gorgeous mane.

Online users were more than happy to see Ruben being free in the wild as one wrote, “No more loneliness, No more small cage, just happiness and a lot of big cats around to answer his roars.”

“This brought tears to my eyes,” another one commented.

What are your thoughts on Ruben, the “loneliest lion in the world?” Do you think animals like him should be freed into the wild? Let us know what your thoughts are, and make sure to pass this on to your friends and family.

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