Malawi the lioness does not walk like her wild kin that stalk the African plains with stealth and menace.
Instead, the 3-year-old resembles a punch-drunk boxer staggering to get to her neutral corner after a 10th round pummeling. She lists slightly to one side while trying to keep her footing before her 300-pound frame sags to the ground at an airy enclosure at Keenesburg’s Wild Animal Sanctuary in Weld County.
Malawi and her 3-year-old female sibling, Chad, have legs that are so badly atrophied they are unable to support their bulk, mostly from malnutrition and lack of physical activity. They and five other lions suffered the same fate, spending all of their lives in 20-by-30-foot individual cages at the defunct Dr. Juan A. Reviro Zoo in Puerto Rico.
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