Helping an Abandoned Big Cat

Maya was born at a drive through animal park on April 29, 2000. She was born as a single cub to her mother. The park houses a large pride of lions and at the time Maya was born another lioness had three other cubs. In an effort to make introductions the keepers at the zoo introduced Maya and her mother with the other mother and her three cubs when all the cubs were about 7 weeks old. Everything went well at first and the cubs were even switching mothers during nursing. The keepers decided that they could leave the lioness’ together overnight and sometime during the night Maya was nearly fatally injured. No one saw what happened but it was surmised that the two mothers fought over Maya and Maya had severe bite marks to her flanks and head. The bite wounds to her head caused brain damage and coma. She gradually recovered from the coma but she was ultimately left with total paralysis of the right side of her face, including blindness in the right eye, and a seizure condition that requires a special diet and expensive medication twice daily.

The park had no place for a single lioness and repeated attempts to reintroduce her to the pride only resulted in her being outcast and picked on for her disabilities. It was at this point that the vets at the park started looking for a place that could provide a good life for Maya where she would be near her own kind but not able to be harmed by them. That’s where Big Cat Rescue came in. We had two other lions at the time and were able to build Maya a natural enclosure next door to one of our lioness’ so that she would be happy. Maya came to live at Big Cat Rescue when she was only 1 year old on May 12, 2001.

On her twice daily medication, which she eats in her food, she has remained mostly seizure free for the past 3 years until just this summer when she suffered a series of traumatic seizures. It was really touch and go for a while and the medical bills have been mounting up. It seems she is having reactions to the medication that keeps her from seizing constantly. After 5 weeks in ICU she is recovering slowly. She is doing much better and we hope to have her back to her old self by the end of the summer and out of the cat hospital. She is eating well and hasn’t had a seizure since June 30th but she is doing physical therapy to regain better control of her limbs so she can walk without stumbling around. It’s not easy to do physical therapy with a 300 pound lioness but she puts up with us pretty well.

I want to thank you for having this fund and considering Maya for this. I am sending two photos of her, one when she arrived and still had her right eye intact although she was blind in it and the other after she had her eye surgery to remove it. It was a sight of constant infection for her and she is much healthier now that she had her eye removed.

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