7 min read

In Argentina, Two Lion Cubs Overcome Abuse, Wildlife Trafficking

Kimber and Simba are two adorable white lion cubs – and they've got just a few more weeks left to live. The white lion cubs are two of twenty animals being kept in a zoo's garage in Argentina. They share the garage with three dogs, six cats, two tigers, a black panther, two more white lion cubs, an arctic fox, and three red wolves.

The animals are kept in appalling conditions, in dirty cages that allow them barely any movement. Most of the animals are malnourished and abused, with injuries in different parts of their bodies. The authorities suspect that the animals "best" treated, like Kimber and Simba, might have been groomed sale through the black market, which thrives with the illegal selling of endangered species as exotic pets. Proof of the inhumane conditions the animals are kept in are two dogs and the oldest tiger who died recently.

After the animals were found, a Luján policeman said, "It is a wonder these animals are still alive, they are sick, starved and dehydrated, and many of them are too weak to even move. The biggest animals have wounds on their bodies and signs from the abuse, and they have marks on their paws and teeth from trying to escape from the cages."

Animal cruelty is not a crime in Argentina, and the only option is to negotiate with the owner of the animals, Mr. Martinez, and get him to surrender them.

Against all odds, there is a group of volunteers who are determined to rescue Kimber and Simba and their friends. "When you see first-hand the horror of what goes on behind closed doors, you are decided to work tirelessly to prevent it from repeating itself," says Anabel Lewis, one of the volunteers involved in the cause.

Last week Mr. Martinez agreed to let the animals receive veterinarian care. "A veterinarian will be allowed to see the animals and treat them, provided that we meet the expenses. Veterinarian costs and medicine are not cheap, and most of the animals will need to receive treatments, as they are severely injured and ill, and we need to be able to ensure such treatments," says Lewis.

Kimber and Simba epitomize the essence of the countless animals who experience abuse and cruelty within domestic life. The #savekimberandsimba campaign takes aim not only at the intentional abuse of animals, but also at the illegal trade of wildlife for the purchase of exotic pets. Kimber and Simba are the brave fighters, they represent the 100 billion animals who die annually because of cruelty around the world, and the 75 million species illegally traded worldwide every year.

To afford veterinarian care and food for the animals, these volunteers have started a crowdfunding campaign. Anabel explained that, "To raise the funds needed we decided to start a crowdfunding campaign to let people take part proactively in our fight to save Kimber and Simba. It is the involvement of every person supporting us which will help us save them." You can visit the campaign here, or read Kimber and Simba's diary on Facebook here. In their diary, Kimber and Simba also give practical advice. They show, for example, the signs of animal abuse and cruelty you have to look for.

Intentional abuse is the worst kind, including physical abuse, maiming, torturing and killing animals. The links between animal abusers who go on to commit crimes against people are far too many. 70 percent of animal abusers also have records of other crimes, often violent ones. The bottom line is we have to help animals in these situations whenever we can because they can't help themselves. We need to do everything possible to get them out of harm's way.