Paralyzed lion died in Brazil

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(AP Photo/LaPresse)

SAO PAULO – A lion in Brazil that was the focus of an Internet campaign to raise money to treat its paralyzed legs has died.

Owner Raquel Borges reports the death of Ariel on the Facebook page that had appealed for donations. She writes: “Our beloved Ariel is gone. This is the saddest day of my life.”

Veterinarian Livia Pereira who cared for Ariel recently has said that for unknown reasons the lion’s white blood cells attacked healthy cells due to a degenerative disease affecting a portion of the brainstem. The 3-year-old, 310-pound (140-kilogram) lion started limping last year and soon was unable to move any of its legs.