Lion Found Trapped in Wire Snare That Was Cutting Off His Paw

A lion in Kenya was found trapped in a wire snare that was cutting off his paw.

The big cat had stepped into the snare, which was becoming tighter and tighter around his paw as he struggled to escape, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust said in a statement.

Wildlife rescuers from Lion Guardian, the Kenya Wildlife Service and Sheldrick Wildlife Trust found the male lion hiding in a thicket, injured and in pain.

Veterinarians used bolt cutters to free the lion's paw from the trap—if it had been left longer, the lion may have lost his paw completely.

Lion in snare
A picture posted by Sheldrick Wildlife Trust shows the lion trapped in a thicket. Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

A spokesperson for Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Amie Alden told Newsweek that although the big cat "lost one of his nine lives, he should live to roar another day."

Alden said that lions are facing an "onslaught of despair from the effects of bushmeat poaching."

This trade is killing prey items for the lion, as well as "maiming the big cats."

"It is difficult to comprehend the pain these animals suffer before their treatment but, thanks to timely intervention, their misery is eased," Alden said.

"A case in point: last year, the Vet Units treated two lions in the space of ten days who nearly had their lives cut short. Both had been ensnared around the neck and were slowly being strangled by the deadly traps.

"Mercifully, help reached them in time and in each instance, the [Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Kenya Wildlife Service] Meru Vet Unit removed the treacherous wires using bolt cutters, a key piece of equipment in their arsenal. They then cleaned the wounds which had been worn of fur and skin, administering antibiotics to aid healing."

Snare traps are often used in the illegal bushmeat trade—a trade where wild animals are caught and sold for eating.

These traps are made from nooses, which are laid at specific heights. Passing animals' necks or legs will then become caught in the noose—as the animals struggles, the noose is designed to become tighter. Animals are left to die from their injuries or starvation and dehydration.

The bushmeat trade does not only threaten the live of endangered animals, it can also pose dangers for humans. The wild animals caught contain pathogens, meaning people who eat their meat and come into contact with the bodily fluids, risk catching diseases.

Hundreds of thousands of animals are killed in the bushmeat trade every year.

Lion in snare
A picture show rescuers using bolt cutters to free the lions paw. Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

According to charity Lion Aid, profits from the illegal bushmeat trade are far greater than the ivory trade. Tens of thousands of snares are found distributed across Kenya, however the scale of the trade in the country is not known. In Tanzania, the charity said a volume of 200,000 tons of bushmeat is harvested a year.

"As bushmeat markets continue to thrive, the illegal practice of snaring has become commercialised, with poachers laying hundreds of snares in a given area. The impact can be catastrophic for local populations of wildlife and poses a real threat to the survival of predators as their natural prey is depleted," Alden said.