Update on jon the emaciated lion


Rescued from a circus just a few weeks ago, Jon has made enormous progress 

Jon has responded well to the expert care he is receiving at Tonga Terre d’Accueil, a wildlife rescue centre in France, and he has now gained 70 kilos. Just a few weeks ago, he was found in a shocking state and rescued from a circus in France by One Voice, a French animal rescue charity, and Natuurhulpcentrum rescue centre based in Belgium.

Jon was shy and in a pitiful state when he first arrived at the centre, but his mental and physical health have vastly improved. He is now more confident, digs holes, plays, vocalises more and enjoys his food. He has items to play with, such as a ball or tree stump; and spices are sprinkled around his enclosure to stimulate his senses, making him dig in the sand and turn over pieces of bark in search of the source of the smell. 

With such an improvement to his fitness, Jon was able to have operations on his tail and teeth. His tail had numerous injuries and his teeth had been ground down to a pulp. One of Jon’s fangs was completely hollow and filled with putrefied food particles that had to be removed. Jon’s teeth must have caused him immense suffering. Both operations were successful and Jon has recovered well, however the vet did have to remove part of his tail in order to treat the injury. 

Dr Chris Draper, Born Free’s Head of Animal Welfare & Captivity, said: “I’m absolutely delighted with Jon’s progress. When Jon was rescued his condition was appalling: one of the worst cases of animal neglect I have seen within the circus industry.”

Jon’s sad story is a shocking example of why we are calling on the French government to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. We are currently raising funds to give four other lions from a French circus – Angela, Bellone, Louga and Saïda – a lifetime home at our big cat sanctuary in South Africa, and will now expand this to include Jon’s future relocation. Jon is the 11th lion with connections to a French circus we have helped in just three years. 

Please join our call for a national ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in France, and to help us give Angela, Bellone, Louga, Saïda and Jon a lifetime home.