Man shocked to discover malnourished lion at horror zoo in Nigeria

King of the jungle is reduced to skin and bone in horror zoo: Shocked visitor photographs starving lion alongside other ‘underfed’ animals in Nigeria

  • The lion was found at the Gamji Gate zoo in Kaduna on the verge of starvation
  • Footage and photos of the lion showed it was very thin with its ribs clearly visible
  • An unnamed man took photos of the conditions that sparked the animal rescue
  • There were also a number of other mistreated animals held captive at the zoo 

A starving lion was discovered by a shocked visitor to a zoo in Nigeria along-side a number of other severely underfed animals.    

After the man’s discovery, a wildlife charity has begun a rescue mission from the horror zoo in an attempt to save the life of the severely malnourished male lion.

His strength must first be returned before he can be relocated to a sanctuary, but there are questions over whether the lion can survive for long enough.

The man was visiting to the Gamji Gate zoo in Kaduna, Nigeria, and was shocked to discover the conditions the animals were being kept in.

After paying a one dollar entrance fee to the state-owned zoo, he came across a painfully thin lion – which looked as if it was on the verge of death – locked up in a cement cage.

A malnourished lion on the brink of starvation had to be rescued from a state-owned Zoo in Nigeria by an animal welfare charity after a visitor was horrified at the zoo’s conditions

The charity performed a rescue operation at the zoo to rescue the male lion after it was found starving. It’s ribs and other bones were clearly visible under its skin

‘The first moment I saw the animal I felt shock,’ the man, who wishes to remain unnamed, told Jam Press. ‘I was so surprised. I felt so nervous and uneasy because it was my first time seeing a lion live.

‘Like this is my first time in a zoo. I virtually saw them in movies, news and magazines. Actually, most of the animals in the zoo are not well-fed. They lack proper treatment or let me say malnutrition.’

Disturbed by the scene, the man recorded his findings and quickly contacted the animal welfare charity WildatLife.e.V to assist in the rescue of the lion.

Among the other animals at the zoo, the man found a skinny hyena living in horrendous conditions. A healthy hyena’s coat should look more full that the one that was found

The animals were held captive in metal unkempt cages at the zoo which charged a single dollar for an entry fee

His footage and photos show the lion looking incredibly thin with its ribs visibly protruding from its stomach.

This is in stark contrast to a typical full-grown male lion, which weighs in at around 420 pounds, while female lions generally weigh about 280 pounds.

The lion, named Zaki by the charity, is in critical condition and had been left to suffer beyond comprehension.


Monkey were also found in cages at the zoo. Left: A baboon sits on a ledge and right, another monkey nipples on a small piece of food in a tiny cage

However, WildatLife.e.V is working alongside the Nigerian Association of Zoological parks which has assisted them in finding a wildlife vet and informing the authorities, who are investigating the matter urgently.

A spokesperson said: ‘The vet was sent and gave medical assistance to the lion but he will require further treatment which NGO WildatLife will pay for.

‘We are awaiting the full vet diagnosis and report into how and why this has been allowed to happen.


The zoo also had crocodiles, pictured left lying in murky, swampy waters. Right: Another monkey found in the zoo sitting inside its tiny cage 

The crocodiles were kept in a larger area in the zoo, but had shallow waters that were swamp-coloured and full of debris

‘Zaki is now receiving medical care and it will be an ongoing case.

‘If Zaki survives this ordeal, our NGO has offered to relocate him to a sanctuary that will see him thrive.

‘But in his now critical condition, it is not viable to relocate him, we must work closely with the Nigerian officials to have this matter dealt with internally.

A picture of a ostrich found at the zoo also shows some of the animals had signs on the outside of their cages with information about the animal inside

‘We must prevent suffering in zoos around the wild that holds wildlife captive for profit.’

Sadly, a number of other animals in the zoo looked to be in poor health and malnourished too. The NGO said conditions and enclosures were completely unsuitable.

However, the lion is the most urgent and shocking case the NGO has ever seen.

It was not clear whether to zoo would remain open after the discovery.  

A typical full-grown male lion, which weighs in at around 420 pounds, while female lions generally weigh about 280 pounds. The lion found and filmed (pictured) at the zoo was no where near a healthy weight

The lion, named Zaki by the charity, is in critical condition after it had been left to suffer beyond comprehension. The lion is the most urgent and shocking case the NGO has ever seen, it said

The latest rescue mission comes shortly after the organisation rescued 47 animals on the brink of death at Ziniare’s zoo in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The zoo, which held wild animals ranging from lions to hippos, porcupines, monkeys, elks and hyenas was exposed for starving its animals to death and leaving them to suffer in appalling conditions.

The team was horrified to discover dozens of endangered species had been left hungry and weak due to malnutrition – and some animals died due to lack of food.

Thankfully, the NGO and The Foundation For The Protection of Fauna and Flora in Burkina Faso have now taken over the zoo after gaining Power of Attorney and have closed it to the public.

They also began an urgent feeding and nutrition programme and the condition of the animals is improving greatly.

Another small animal found at the zoo, pictured in a tiny cage by the man who discovered the lion and the other animals living in dire conditions at the zoo

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