A video of a lion having a seizure inside the Manila Zoo has gone viral. It was posted by Facebook user Mark Lee yesterday and shows an Asiatic lion from the Manila Zoo thrashing its legs while lying on its side.
Lee claims that the lion was having a seizure and theorized that the animal was suffering from “canine distemper,” although it has not been officially diagnosed.
Canine distemper disease usually affects dogs and other wildlife species such as raccoons and wolves. Symptoms include reddened eyes and high fever.
Lee also wrote that the animals inside the zoo were “malnourished.”
Lee told Coconuts Manila that the incident happened on Sunday, 3pm. In his post, he called on the Manila Zoo to investigate what happened to the lion.
A certain Leo Trinidad Almelor was among those who’ve seen the video. He claims to be a volunteer from the Manila Zoo.
“I would like to thank you for the attention that you have given to Raffy [the lion], we already informed the zoo veterinarian. Although for future reference, there is always a veterinarian in the zoo. For medical emergencies such as this, please let the staff know immediately,” he wrote as a comment on the post.
“We would also like to request [guests] to avoid diagnosing cases such as this. It is very misleading and could cause uproars (sic),” he ended.
Lee responded to the comment and said that he did not post the video to cause an uproar or to mislead the public. He also said that although the animals go through check-ups, that was not enough.
“They (volunteers) mentioned that volunteers do once a week check up on animals but it is not enough so I do hope that the management of Manila Zoo will further improve in the future,” Lee said.
Meanwhile, Almelor posted on his Facebook page earlier today that Raffy, the lion, is being attended to by veterinarians and zookeepers. He wrote: “He has been quarantined and will be going under a series of laboratory testings to diagnose his condition.”
“After proper diagnosis, his treatment will be followed and of course rehabilitation,” he said.
Almelor found it worrying that the zookeepers were not immediately notified about the emergency.
He said: “Attending vets were only informed hours ago when we notified them about the said video that was posted.”
“Any emergency case [the management] should be notified immediately to address the situation and [so that medical care could] be given [and] the best intervention as soon as possible. Be with people or animals, emergencies should be addressed MEDICALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY, NOT POSTED on Social Media,” he added.
The video now has over 740,000 views and 19,000 shares. Netizens were distraught by the incident.
Facebook user Alexander Erasga wrote in Filipino: “They (Manila Zoo) shouldn’t be given license to operate. They are so incompetent!”
“Good grief Manila Zoo, just surrender them to who can really take care of them,” wrote Bena Hipolito.
Nicole Delas Alas said: “It’s heartbreaking to see that they are being neglected.”
Others called out Lee for not telling the zookeepers immediately about the lion’s condition.
Ralph Justin Ulep said: “You should have informed the staff, not just take a video. You are pretending to be concerned to gain likes, sheesh.”
Ron Vitor said Lee shouldn’t have jumped to the conclusion that the lion was having a seizure.
He wrote: “If you’re saying that this lion has distemper, the whole pride including the tigers would have had the same symptoms as distemper is very contagious and is airborne.”
Vitor shared that the lions are technically not malnourished either, suggesting that he could have asked some to help with the situation at the time.
He wrote: “What you could have done before actually posting this is to have talked to someone and showed them the video. They would have given you prudent advice on what to do.”
Manila Zoo has yet to release a formal statement regarding the incident.