For four long years, he spent his life attached to a wooden hut by a heavy metal chain stopping hindering him from movement. It was so tight around his neck that he lost his mane. Dolo - as his rescuers decided to call him - had become so thin that you could count his ribs.
Captured when he was just a young cub, Dolo spent all of his youth in captivity at a private residence in southern Ethiopia. The man who held him kept him at the entrance of his property as a symbol of power. Beth Brooks, the spokeswoman for the NGOBorn Freetold The Dodo:
After which, the volunteers at Born Free temporarily installed Dolo in an enclosure in Awash National Park, in Ethiopia. Finally free to move around and eat to satisfy his hunger, his health improved dramatically.
Sadly, his former living conditions had affected his vision in an irreversible way. Laura Gosset, program director at Born Free, explained:
Dolo has retinal atrophy, probably due to a nutritional deficiency when [he was] young and this has left him with very limited vision. He would therefore take longer to get used to his new environment; a space far bigger and more complex and stimulating than anything he has experienced before.
For the recovering lion, things could only get better. Having always lived in captivity, the animal, was unfortunately unfitfor the wild. That's why in March 2011, the feline was transferred to Born Free's immense refuge,Ensessakotteh, in the middle of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
When he arrived at his new home, Dolo, impressed by the his vast terrain, didn't even dare leave the box he was transported in. Laura Gosset explained:
Unsurprisingly Dolo didn't come bounding out. He didn't want to leave his box and roared his displeasure. That roar was unexpected, deafening and more than a little bit frightening, but after an extended pause he sauntered out into his new home.
Today, he loves his new environment. Exploring the vegetation of his enclosure and taking naps under the tall trees are some of his favorite activities. At least before they introduced him to Safia, a lionesse who also escaped a somber past. If at first, they weren't sure how they felt about each other, the two felines rapidly became inseparable.