Cambodian authorities seize pet lion after spotting it on TikTok
The lion is 1.5 years old and weighs 154 pounds, according to the NGO Wildlife Alliance, which carried out the joint operation on Sunday along with local authorities in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.
The lion had been raised from a cub by its owners, who had removed its canine teeth, “drastically reducing the lion’s quality of life,” Wildlife Alliance tweeted.
Lions use their long canine teeth to rip skin and tear at meat.
The NGO’s tweet quoted Koam Seiha, director of Phnom Penh Prey Chey Administration, as saying people do not have the right to raise wild animals and the lion would be given to the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Conservation and Rescue Center.
The owners “have been called in by the authorities to stop raising such wildlife,” he said, according to the tweet.
Wildlife Alliance said the lion eats approximately 13 pounds of raw meat every day.
“The conditions at a residential home are inappropriate for a wild animal,” tweeted the NGO, which said the lion is now safe and being looked after at the rescue center.
Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra told the AFP news agency that the lion had been spotted on social media.
“Cambodian authorities started investigating this lion since we saw it on TikTok in late April,” Pheaktra said Sunday, according to AFP. “People have no right to raise rare wildlife as pets.”
In most countries around the world, it is illegal to keep wild animals at home, but several US states do allow it.
However, that may change if a bipartisan bill becomes law.
The Big Cat Public Safety Act would largely ban people from owning lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, cougars and jaguars as house pets.
Zoos and sanctuaries would be exempt, as would people who already own big cats — as long as they register their animals promptly.
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