Lichtenburg, South AfricaThirty-four lions were crammed into a muddy enclosure meant for three. Rotting chicken carcasses and cattle body parts littered the ground. Feces piled up in corners. Algae grew in water bowls. Twenty-seven of the lions were so afflicted with mange, a painful skin disease caused by parasitic mites, that they’d lost nearly all their fur. Three cubs lay twitching in the dirt, one draped over the blackened leg of a cow, its hoof visible. Mewling, they struggled—but failed—to drag themselves forward. A fourth cub looked on, motionless.
“Soul destroying.” That’s how Douglas Wolhuter, senior inspector with South Africa’s National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), describes the scene at Pienika Farm, in North West Province, on