After tying up our dinghy on Little French Key, we noticed a sign for the zoo, and headed there first. All of the structures were large, clean and well maintained, housing a variety of birds, ducks, geese, deer, monkeys and goats.
The owners have also rescued a jaguar and lion from a traveling circus on mainland Honduras. The jaguar is now in a new, larger enclosure at Frenchy’s 44, a restaurant across the water which is owned by Little French Key (we heard that he wasn’t happy downwind of the lion), so we headed off to see Lawrence the lion.
At first, second and third glance, this poor lion seemed to be in sad, sad shape. Lawrence was rescued in June of 2014, and I’d have expected him to look better, two years after being rescued. He hobbles around terribly, his left eye had definitely been affected by some trauma or infection and the skin on his face is also very splotchy. (this photo is posted on Lawrence’s cage. I missed it when we were there, so I borrowed it from my friend Elizabeth’s blog)
I seriously questioned the term “rescue” here, so I did quite a bit of digging to find out more information about Lawrence. I stumbled upon a brief Youtube video, with a keeper explaining his history.
Lawrence was kept in a 4×6 foot cell for the first four years of his life (he’s now 6). The close quarters allowed him no room to move around, and as a result he has an arched back, and also leg pain from being declawed (hence the hobbling).
He was only 150lbs when rescued, but as of last year he was up to 420lbs..hurray! His fur was pale, and his mane wasn’t full (first photo). These things need sunlight to grow and be healthy, and in the photo I took (below), his fur and mane definitely look better. I couldn’t find out what caused his eye to look as it does, but did find out that he’d had surgery for a cleft palate.
Unfortunately, Lawrence’s early years have left permanent scars. However, I feel that he has truly been rescued and is now leading a better life. No cat that is sad and unhappy would nap like this, letting it all hang out (I borrowed this one too).
Howard can attest to that!
“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”