Lion cub is forced to have both eyes removed after being smuggled 1,200 miles by bus across Russia in a tiny wooden box without food or water
- Cub, named Grom, was discovered in luggage compartment of bus in summer
- Animal was travelling from Makhachkala to Moscow when he was discovered
- He was given tocircus before vets found cataract in eyes and he needed surgery
A lion cub has been forced to have both eyes removed after it was smuggled by bus across Russia in a tiny wooden box.
The cub, named Grom, was discovered in a narrow wooden box in the luggage compartment of an inter city bus.
It was travelling on a 1,200-mile route from Makhachkala to Moscow, Russia, when the police had found the animal during the summer.
The cub, named Grom, pictured, has been forced to have both eyes removed after it was smuggled by bus across Russia in a tiny wooden box
The baby, pictuted, who was just a few weeks old, had no food or water and vets believe he was removed from his mother before even suckling her milk
The baby, who was just a few weeks old, had no food or water and vets believe he was removed from his mother before even suckling her milk.
Grom, which means thunder, was handed to a circus in Volgograd, but an examination by a vet found cataract in his eyes.
Surgery was delayed due to inflammation until September, and believing it was a success, he was sent back to Dovgalyuk circus.
But the owner Nikolay Dovgalyuk said: ‘The disease progressed rapidly.
‘Grom poked at the walls, and was angry he couldn’t understand what was happening to him.’
Further complex surgery failed to save the eyes with the rupture of the cubs corneas, said Galina Alikova, head of the regional veterinary committee.
She said: ‘We were immediately warned that both eyes would have to be removed.
‘Grom is now completely blind. Of course, we are very sorry. But we really went through all the possible options. It was about saving his life.’
The cub was discovered in a narrow wooden box in the luggage compartment of an inter city bus (pictured)
New pictures show the eyeless lion playing with a ball, but there are questions over his future.
Police have been unable to establish who sent Grom on the cruel bus journey and they haven’t found the protective buyer.
But experts have drawn attention to a smuggling route for exotic pets from Dagestan region on the Caspian Sea, where Makhachkala is the capital.
New pictures show the eyeless lion playing with a ball, but there are questions over his future as police have been unable to establish who sent Grom in the box
Famous Russian animal surgeon Karen Dallakyan has previously warned Vladimir Putin about the lack of criminal sanctions against animal smugglers.
He had offered to care for Grom early on in the saga but officials declined to send him the cub.
He claimed the lion’s sight could have been saved if Volgograd officials had acted sooner, and that passing the animal to a circus was the wrong move after its discovery.