Lions are threatened by more than just big game hunting, so called back yard zoos are another source of danger for these majestic animals. Lions and other big cats at back yard zoos are often treated poorly, living in horrific conditions with little access to veterinary care.
One such lion rescued from a back yard zoo is Joseph, a 17 year old lion that was rescued eight years ago by an organization called Big Cat Rescue. The group prides itself on rescuing big cats who, after years of captivity, are no longer able to return to the wild, but nonetheless deserve a happy and healthy life. Now a senior in lion terms, Joseph was recently found to be suffering from eye problems.
With the help of a tranquilizer gun and a team of skilled veterinarians, Big Cat Rescue found that Joseph needed surgery on the lens in his right eye. A simple procedure, Joseph is once again healthy and recuperating with a little help from his favorite treat: ice cream.
Last month the world was horrified over the senseless killing of Cecil the lion, a beloved symbol of the nation of Zimbabwe who was lured out of his protected sanctuary by American hunter Walter Palmer. Palmer, a dentist, paid $50,000 to hunt Cecil, and, following news of the killing, has been forced to go into hiding due to widespread international outrage. Conservationists in particular roundly condemned Palmer’s actions, pointing out that wild lion populations had dropped dramatically in the past 50 years.