World’s loneliest lion trapped in abandoned zoo for 5 years freed back to natural habitat

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After five years of having been locked in a concrete enclosure at an abandoned zoo in Armenia after his owner passed away, Ruben the lion has finally been freed back to his natural habitat.

According to Animal Defenders International, Ruben made a 5,200 mile journey from Armenia to South Africa where he was able to take his first steps out of his specially designed travel crate. He had been the only animal left in the private zoo after it closed, and since there were no other animals around, Ruben had “lost his roar.” Lions use their voices to communicate, and ADI President Jan Creamer stated it must have been devastating for this sociable lion to have had no one to call out to and roar.

The epic journey to the vast sanctuary where Ruben will be freed was organized by Animal Defenders International (ADI), and Qatar Airways.

Seeing him walk on grass for the first time, hearing the voices of his own kind, with the African sun on his back, brought us all to tears.

Jan Creamer

As Ruben left his travel crate, his legs were a bit wobbly after years of no exercise and malnutrition, but his weakened condition seemed not to affect his true cat personality. As he exited, he began to play with a giant catnip punching bag and perhaps the best of all – he has already started to find his roar again!

And Ruben is now surrounded by other lions, and in just a few days of freedom, he is getting stronger and stronger.

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