One Sunday afternoon in the Philippines, Raffy the lion collapsed and started to shake violently at his enclosure located in Manila Zoo. The clip shows how two lionesses were looking curiously at the scene as the lion was shaking uncontrollably and having a seizure. Raffy was on his side, thrashing his legs!
Mark Lee who happens to visit the zoo that day said the animal looked “malnourished.” During his interview later on, he said that the lions in the zoo appeared malnourished. Lee thinks that the zoo really needs to look into this problem a lot more. Volunteers may do check ups once a week on animals but it seems like their efforts are not enough. Lee posted the clip on social media to catch the zookeeper’s attention for them to investigate his health with a caption that reads:
“The lion in the video is having a seizure.. probably suffering from canine distemper disease. Please help and investigate Manila Zoo. Thank you”
According to the veterinarian who is looking over Raffy, they started a medical diary in order for them to note his changes in appetite and behavior as their first step. Since the seizure, he is being checked over by the vets and zookeepers. Leo Trinidad Almelor released a statement saying his final diagnosis will be published once the attending veterinarians are able to get his results. After a proper diagnosis, his treatment will then be followed by rehabilitation which he will surely need.
According to Almelor, it is very alarming that an emergency situation such as this was not informed to any of the zoo authorities. He pleads to the public that if in any case that they witness an emergency case like this within Manila Zoo, relay the information immediately for them to be able to address the situation as soon as possible, and give the best possible intervention to prevent any further problems to the animals of the zoo.
He said, “Be it with people or animals, emergencies should be addressed medically and professionally and not posted on social media.”
Animal welfare groups in the Philippines are seeking Manila Zoo enclosure after the lion had seizures. The Animal Kingdom Foundation which is a non-governmental organization has called for an investigation of the incident. According to them, the zoo’s failure to act on it may possibly be deemed a violation of the Animal Welfare Act. In fact, some people revealed that the animals in Manila Zoo have long been experiencing cruelty and neglect.
Anna Cabrera, the executive director of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) stated that there are standard for zoos and they don’t see that in Manila Zoo. The place reeks of urine and animals are thin and appear to be malnourished. Unlike in other zoos, these animals do not even have anything to play with that can occupy their interest. For Anna, this is a mental torture for these animals.
Heinrich Patrick Peña Domingo who is the officer in charge of the Manila Zoo Zoological Division confirmed that Raffy has now recovered from the seizure. He said that the zoo is carrying out tests in order to find out what caused his sudden seizure. He assured that Raffy is okay now and they did not see any problems with him after that day. He is back to normal and so is his appetite.