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July 30, 2015 1:13 pm

A Tale of Two Cats: Cecil the Lion Mourned, Samuni Gets Happy Ending in Israel (VIDEO)

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An African lion in Tel Aviv is faring better than his tragically killed counterpart Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. (Illustrative photo.) Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

An African lion in Tel Aviv is faring better than his tragically killed counterpart Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. (Illustrative photo.) Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – As the world mourns Cecil the lion, who was reportedly shot by an American dentist in Zimbabwe, a much happier ending has emerged for another member of the big cat family. On Wednesday in Israel, a veterinary surgeon removed a tumor from an 8-year-old African lion named Samuni.

Samuni’s keepers at the Ramat Gan Safari near Tel Aviv discovered that he had a growth on his belly. The growth underwent a biopsy to determine if it was benign or malignant, but since the results were inconclusive, safari veterinarians decided to remove the whole tumor as a precaution.

The removal surgery took two hours. But getting the lion to cooperate was more challenging and required knocking him out with an anesthetic dart. Now, Samuni is already expected to return to his enclosed free-range habitat in the safari on Thursday, according to Haaretz.

“Every lion is extremely important for us here at the Safari and we will do everything we can to care for them and give them a quality life,” Ramat Gan Safari spokesperson Sagit Horowitz told ISRAEL21c. “There was no doubt that we’d take care of Samuni even though it is extremely difficult to anesthetize a lion. We knew that we would do everything to save his life.”

“The story of Cecil is horrifying, shocking and extremely sad,” she added. “It hurts that these things happen. We know the situation in nature is very difficult and that’s why when people say, ‘how can we keep animals in a zoo when their lives are so much better out in nature,’ we always say that you need to look at it from a balanced point of view. It’s not always easier for animals to be out in the wild. Here, all their needs are cared for and they’re treated with respect. No one will poach them here.”

Watch Samuni the lion undergo surgery to remove a tumor at the Ramat Gan Safari in Israel:

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  • Carol Halberstadt

    Kol ha-kavod! I hope Samuni makes a full and complete recovery–refuah shleimah. Some day, our U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may wake up to the fact that lions and all the wildlife in Africa are endangered (and worldwide) as a result of human depredation. There’s are petitions circulating on the web from PETA and IFAW and AWI calling on the US FWS to declare lions “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act, which would bar the import of any lion so-called “trophies”–heads, tails, skins, paws. I urge everyone in the US and Israel and worldwide who subscribes to Algemeiner to sign this petition. Tonight is Shabbat Nahamu. Let us heed the call and cry out in the wilderness to save life on Earth. Here’s the full message I just sent to the US Fish & Wildlife Service:

    “I was appalled and horrified to learn that Cecil the lion, the patriarch and defender of a family of dozens of cubs, was recently killed in Zimbabwe by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer, who wanted a lion’s head on his wall. The hunting party tied a dead animal to a vehicle to lure Cecil–a collared for study purposes, an animal accustomed to humans–out of Hwange National Park. Cecil was blinded with a spotlight and then shot with a high-powered crossbow. The lion hid in the bush, no doubt suffering greatly from a steel arrow in his body. When he was found–40 hours later, still alive–Palmer, the “mighty white hunter,” shot him and had him beheaded and skinned, leaving Cecil’s family of cubs vulnerable to attack.

    “Trophy” hunters like Palmer will continue to devastate lion families as long as lions remain off the Endangered Species List. Please immediately issue a final rule listing lions as “threatened” and banning the importation of lion heads, tails, and skins in order to stop all trophy imports into the United States.

    To do less is to be complicit in this cowardly murderer’s so-called “sport” hunting. Killing wild and endangered animals as “trophies” is ecocide, biocide, and geocide–crimes against life. As the wildlife of this planet continues to dwindle because of human behaviors, I call upon the U.S FWS to protect what remains struggling to survive, and to declare lions, along with rhinos and elephants, at minimum a threatened species under the ESA, and to ban the importation of any lion body parts, including skins, tails, heads, paws, into the U.S.

    And I would urge you to extend this ban to the so-called “trophy” hunting and importation of any wild animal from Africa, including all primates, birds, herbivores, carnivores, giraffes, wildebeest, wild dogs, jackals, hyenas, tortoises, and on and on–who are all crucial to the fragile balance of life and habitat preservation in very harsh and increasingly difficult circumstances.

    Animals are not “trophies” to be murdered and stuffed or hung on a wall or their skin laid out on the floor. Enough of the slaughter–enough have died. Enough! Let it end now.

    Thank you for listening and caring, and choosing life for wild animals. With hope for life on Earth and the Earth who sustains us all,


  • Reform School

    We hear the American dental surgeon was rescuing Boko Haram vets trying to cure Cecil’s headache, who became his dinner