Cambodian authorities have seized a “lion’s house” in the capital, Phnom Penh. The predator lived in a villa and was stripped of its fangs and claws. Animal rights activists tracked down the lion after pictures of him appeared on Tik Tok and Twitter. Then the lion roamed freely in a backyard in the densely populated city.
The Cambodian government said a Chinese man had illegally brought the lion to be a cub from abroad to raise it at his home in his villa.
The animal is eighteen months old and also appeared on social media earlier this year. Movies about how to caress and wash a funny four-legged young friend can count on a great deal of interest, but also criticism. The government and animal protection advocates tracked down the lion through videos and earlier this week invaded the villa he was living in.
According to the Wildlife Alliance, the rescue organization that helped with the raid, conditions in the house were “unsuitable for a wild animal.” In addition, the animal weighed 70 kilograms, and the removal of claws and fangs has “serious consequences” for the lion’s quality of life, according to the Wildlife Alliance. Lions use those teeth to tear pieces of meat.
Cambodia is a transit country in the illegal wildlife trade. Observers say the authorities are implementing little and that corruption is an obstacle to fighting the lucrative pet trade.
The lion who remained in Phnom Penh was taken to a rescue center outside the city. It is not yet known what steps will be taken against the previous owner of the animal. “People do not have the right to keep rare wild animals as pets,” a government spokesperson said.
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