AN abandoned lioness was driven “insane” after she and six other animals were left to rot at a zoo in Armenia.
Three lions, two bears and two guinea pigs were stranded and left to live in “horrific conditions” in a dilapidated animal park in the town of Gyumri.
Pictures taken of the animals in 2016 show the miserable conditions the animals lived in.
Locked in tiny cages, none of the wild beasts had access to food or water.
One image shows the scars on the lioness’ head from repeatedly slamming against the metal bars of her cage.
The photographer who captured the horrifying images said the animals were living in an “appalling state”.
“The animals are in an appalling state,” Roger Allen told The Dodo.
“The bears were pacing around in circles in frustration and desperation at being caged in such a small area.
“The lioness, Mary, the mother of the two cubs, hardly moved. She lay with her head against the bars.”
The animals had been bought by billionaire Stepan Vardanyan who had purchased them at jungle-themed parties, local media reported at the time.
The zoo later ran into financial difficulties and the last paying customer was in 2014.
The owner then abandoned the park leaving the animals to an unnatural existence.
The local government refused to take any responsibility for the animals and so two pensioners took on the task.
Hovhamnes and Alvina Madoyan told Allen that they stumbled across the zoo and couldn’t bear to see the animals waste away.
“I lost my job, I had nothing, my wife and I were walking by the deserted zoo when we heard these terrible cries of animals in torment,” Hovhamnes said.
“We came in to see the lioness and her cub literally frothing at the mouths from lack of water.”
The pair then dedicated their lives to caring for the animals – using their measly pension on feeding the animals scraps of meat.
“My wife and I can’t bear to see God’s creatures in pain,” Hovhamnes reportedly said.
“They are sad and lonely and, when they can be bothered, pace up and down their cages, showing the signs of being driven mad by boredom and inactivity.”
But thankfully the three lions were successfully rescued by the Worldwide Veterinary Service and now live in a private zoo with an enclosure that was built for them.