"Depressed" blind lion written off as "breeding mistake" and kept in rusty cage

A blind lioness kept inside a cage in a government-run zoo was written off by staff as a "breeding mistake", a devastated visitor claimed.

Five-year-old Lyka was born with poor visibility which has now deteriorated to the point that she has completely lost her sight.

Heartbreaking footage shows the big cat lying down inside a rusty enclosure at Maasin Zoo in Iloilo, Philippines, with a disturbing blue and grey hue to her eyes.

A female visitor has urged animal welfare groups to intervene after claiming Lyka appears "neglected" and "depressed".

She also claimed staff working at the zoo had written her off as a "breeding mistake".

But the zoo insisted Lyka is "healthy".

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ”It was heartbreaking. I wanted to cry.

"Seeing such beautiful animals locked up and clearly suffering was so disheartening.

”The lioness cub’s name is Lyka. Her eyesight has gone and now she’s completely blind. I felt so sorry for her. She’s just five.

”I asked the staff about this and they just said that she was a breeding mistake. She looks so neglected and depressed.

”Lyka’s locked up in such a small cage, there’s no room for her to do the things she should be doing.

”It was obvious me to me that the cage was not clean enough. We called out to her and she moved her paw a little bit but apart from that she was still. She looked weak.”

The visitor said that in a cage next to Lyka was a fully-grown lion that also looked to be in a state of ill-health.

She added: ”I am sure that anybody who visits that that zoo doesn’t come away with a happy feeling. How could they? If they do, then they’re lying to themselves. I found it to be such a horrible place.

”The staff told me that they don’t have the funds to improve the zoo, but that’s just no excuse. If the animals are suffering then they should move them to another place where they’re properly cared for.”

A spokesman for Maasin Zoo said today that Lyka was ”healthy” and given adequate food and water.

They added: ”If there are any problems with the animals they are treated by a vet. They are safe and healthy and receive adequate nutrition. Most visitors enjoy their time here.”

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