This is a tragic moment a lion cub had both of its eyes removed after it was smuggled on a long-distance bus.
Police found the cub called Grom in a narrow wooden crate in the compartment of a bus on a 1,200-mile route from Makhachkala to Moscow. He had no water or food.
Vets believe Grom was taken away from his mother even before suckling her milk.
The baby lion was initially given to a circus in Volgograd where cops had found the poor cub during a search of the vehicle.
A vet examined the animal and found cataracts in his eyes. However, surgery was delayed because of the inflammation.
The surgery finally went ahead in September and Grom was returned to Dovgalyuk circus. However, the disease progressed quickly.
“Grom poked at the walls, and was angry he couldn’t understand what was happening to him,” said owner Nikolay Dovgalyuk.
Further surgery failed to save Grom’s eyes with the rupture of his corneas.
“We were immediately warned that both eyes would have to be removed,” said Galina Alikova, the head of the regional veterinary committee.
“Grom is now completely blind,” she added. “Of course, we are very sorry.”
“But we really went through all the possible options. It was about saving his life,” she added.
New photos show the cub playing with a ball.
Authorities could not determine who sent the poor animal on the cruel long journey. They have also been unable to identify the buyer.
Experts are now investigating the smuggling route for exotic animals from Dagestan region.
“It’s scary to think, but in such conditions, he might not have made it to Moscow – without food and water,” a police canine service employee said.
“In the box itself, there were absolutely unsanitary conditions.”
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