Rapee the lion getting treatment after ‘seizure’ video goes viral
Manila Zoo's malnourished Lion and LionessSeptember 16, 2018The lion in the video is having a seizure.. probably…ADVERTISEMENT
Manila Zoo officials on Wednesday assured the public that the 5-year-old lion caught in a viral video having a “seizure” was getting proper medical attention.
Rapee – a play on the nickname of Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada – started being given neurovitamins and was put on a ketogenic diet since the incident, following a directive from the zoo administrators.
Veterinarian Patrick Domingo of the Zoological Division said that Rapee was under observation, but it was too early to give a diagnosis or to declare that what caused the lion to have a seizure, as netizens were claiming.
“Seizure is idiopathic,” Domingo said. “So it could be caused by sudden surge of electrical signals to the brain, or by the change in weather or stress. Epilepsy, meanwhile, is a series of incidents that have an underlying cause, like tumor or trauma. So we have to maintain a medical diary for about two weeks to tell what exactly happened to Rapee.”
But Domingo said Rapee was in a good shape and was able to eat well a day after the video was posted.
The veterinarian also commented that Mark Lee, the person who took and posted the video on Facebook, should have reported the incident right away to the zoo administrators.
Lee’s video, taken on Sept. 16, went viral on social media, sparking outrage from netizens who accused the zoo officials of neglecting the needs of its animals.
Some animal rights groups, like the Animal Kingdom Foundation, have appealed to the management of Manila Zoo to investigate the case of Rapee and to make sure that all resident animals are fully protected and given proper health care.
“We strongly insist the strengthening and improving of animal health care, improving facilities and all the general welfare of all the resident animals of Manila Zoo,” the groups said. “Your failure to address these issues will only jeopardize the welfare of the animals but you are likewise putting at risk the Management and its officers for violating the Animal Welfare Act.”
Jerry Young, head of the Zoo Crew Philippines volunteer group, defended the zoo administrators.
“With the proper support, the Manila Zoo can be a good place for conservation and preservation of species and a center for learning. If only the Filipino people will learn to care and show more support,” he said.
Young’s team have been regularly visiting and joining activities for Rapee and other animals in Manila Zoo.
He said Rapee had always been in good health and showed no signs of illness when they visited him last Sunday.
In 2015, the Manila City Government signed a P1.5 billion joint venture agreement with private company Metropolitan Zoo and Botanical Garden, Inc., to facilitate the total rehabilitation of Manila Zoo.
The agreement has since been pending for approval with the city council.
Jaz Garcia, Manila Zoo director, said the plan was to modernize the place through a complete overhaul that would be done in six phases, to make it at par with world-class zoos like the ones in Singapore or San Diego in California in the United States.
“The zoo has been operating since 1959, and there have not been major rehabilitation projects that took place since then,” Garcia said.
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