After a life of mistreatment, the lion Léo had been taken in by the refuge of La Tanière. Unfortunately, the beast died, victim of an incurable cancer.
La Tanière refuge , located near Chartres, is an establishment that takes care of formerly mistreated animals. Among its residents, the best known was undoubtedly Leo, a lion collected by the establishment in 2019.
He arrived with Zampa, his companion, with whom he was abused throughout his life. Leo was a former fairground beast who was transported for years on beaches or in nightclubs in Spain. There, tourists and revelers lined up to take a selfie with the locked lions, for around fifty euros. A system against which Francine Violas, manager of La Tanière, protests.
“I still see, on social networks, people dancing, laughing and playing with servals or big cats. But stop, stop watching these videos, stop liking them” , she exclaimed.
During his years in custody, Leo’s claws were pulled out and the lion was castrated early, which is why his mane couldn’t grow. The acts of abuse and poor living conditions caused health problems for Leo, who had difficulty eating and moving around, as he suffered from leg infections.
Thirteen-year-old Leo suffered from paralysis of the hindquarters due to an infection. To try to save him and avoid total paralysis, veterinarians gathered at La Tanière for a last-ditch operation. The medical team had their first hope when they saw the lion waking up a few hours after his operation.
However, vets discovered that Leo was suffering from incurable bladder cancer. To relieve the animal’s suffering, they decided to euthanize it.
“We first put him to sleep and then gave him an injection to stop his heart. It was the best we could do for him. Everyone fought until the end. It was a very sad moment. It’s like when we lose someone in our family. The problem is the absence, the fact of no longer seeing him” , explained Francine and Patrick Violas, the managers of the refuge, with great emotion.
Leo’s ashes will be scattered in the park of the refuge. His playmate, Zampa, will be placed under close surveillance to prevent him from letting himself go following the departure of his friend.