Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
Jon the emaciated lion that was rescued from an evil circus in France has had to have his tail amputated because it had become too damaged after he chewed on it due to injuries it sustained during his captivity.
Animal rights group One Voice, who rescued Jon from the circus and who are his legal guardians, told Newsflash that Jon is currently being cared for by the Tonga Terre d’Accueil animal refuge in Saint-Martin-la-Plaine, a commune in the Loire department in central France.
On the plus side, Jon has put on 20 kilogrammes and as can be seen in these new images, he seems to be doing much better than when he was rescued.
When he was saved, activists found that his teeth and claws had been removed. He still has injuries all over his body too, on his head, his elbows, his stomach, his legs, and his tail, which has now been removed in a one-hour operation.
The state of his remaining teeth are catastrophic, with many being very damaged or missing, including his fangs. A huge deep cavity has completely eaten away the root of one removed fang, where rotten food has accumulated.
Although the cavity has been cleaned, the intervention of a specialist will be necessary in order to treat this wound, which his carers said looks painful.
Jon woke up gently and easily after the op, according to his carers. Despite the pain his tail or mouth may have inflicted on him, they say he has never been aggressive.
To continue his recovery, Jon will continue to be closely monitored and helped to gain weight, and the next step will be to sort out his teeth.
One Voice told Newsflash that they are hopeful Jon will be allowed to go to South Africa when he is better, but that it is “subject to the authorisation by the court, after the court case.” A date for the case still needs to be scheduled.
They said: “In 10 days Jon has really picked up. His ribs are no longer visible under his fur and he is much livelier than when we rescued him from the circus where he had been exploited for several years. The twenty kilos he has put on can also be seen by the skin on his belly, which is starting to fill out. He has made enormous progress in such a short time, which proves that his advanced wasting was definitely not due to age or illness but was a clear indication that he was being starved by the owner of the circus.”
When Jon was rescued, footage had shown the state he was in. The lion, who was owned by the Cirque de Paris until the One Voice was finally authorised to seize him, was very thin.
One Voice told Newsflash at the time: “We had already filed a complaint against the Ministry of Ecology over the circus animals. The ministry said that the animals were well treated there.”
The authorities had reportedly known about the case since October 2018 but it took until June 2020 for them to allow him to be rescued. The incident took place in the commune of Vironvay in the Eure department in the northern French region of Normandy.
Big cats are a trendy topic these days, with shows like Netflix’s The Tiger King, featuring Joe Exotic. Asked what they thought about the show, One Voice told Newsflash: “It is always useful to show the exploitation of these wild animals, to put an end to them.
“We hope the message it sends will not make people want to own big cats. Their place is in nature or in sanctuaries when they have been captive.”
Muriel Arnal, founder of the association, said: “We have been monitoring the activities of this circus and the condition of the animals for two years.
“There are four other lions whose condition is very worrying. When we got Jon back, we didn’t know if he would make it. Today we are more optimistic but there is urgency for others.”