Watch: A Circus Deliberately Starved This Lion Cub, So He Could Remain ‘Small And Cute’.

A lion cub who was purposely starved by the staff of the circus which owned him, so he would remain “small and cute” for tourists to take pictures with has been rescued by vets.

Officials intervened after they learned that a circus in Spain was only feeding four-month-old Magnus the lion cub with yogurt and bread. The emaciated cub, who was born in captivity, should have been switched to solid food at least two months ago.

However, the circus’ owners, who charged visitors EUR20 ($23) to have a “selfie” with Magnus, wanted the cub to stay small. (Scroll through for all the images and videos.)

1. Four-month-old Magnus was starved by circus owners and only given liquids so he would stay “small and cute” for photographs. He is pictured above after an operation to have his esophagus widened so he can eat solid food.

A Zoo Separated This Lion Cub From His Mother And Deliberately Starved Him So He Could Remain 'Small And Cute' For Visitors To Take Pictures With.

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Vets were contacted and informed of Magnus’ horrific treatment, after staff at the animal sanctuary where the cub was taken realized that his esophagus had shrunk, because he had never eaten solid food.

The animal charity Let’s Adopt agreed to pay for the surgery to widen Magnus’ food pipe and the cub can now eat crushed solids, including chicken.

He is beginning to grow normally, with his weight doubling from 24 lbs to 48 lbs since the operation on February 13.

Let’s Adopt spokesman Ivan Jimenez said:

The circus regarded the baby lion as an attraction to bring in visitors and they were keen to keep it small for as long as possible.

We decided to pay for the surgery although we usually only treat cats and dogs.

The fact that he had a narrowing of the throat was certainly in part due to malnutrition and he needed to undergo several operations to enable vets to dilate the esophagus.

The surgery was carried out at the Hospital Veterinario Valencia Sur, in Silla, Spain. Nelo Civera, a vet at the hospital, said:

The lion should have been fed with meat two months ago but he was not able to eat solid food.

Currently, Magnus can eat a kilo of chicken breast chopped into two every day but he will be chronically ill for life.

It is unlikely he will ever be able to eat huge chunks of meat and his meals will probably always have to be cut up for him to make sure he doesn’t try to swallow chunks that are too large. He certainly would never survive in the wild.

Sources: Let’s Adopt, The Daily Mail.

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