An 18-month-old, 70-kilogram lion was seized last Sunday from a house owned by Chinese citizens, located in a wealthy neighborhood in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.
According communicated the non-governmental organization Wildlife Alliance, the animal had its canine teeth removed and its claws severely clipped, which “drastically” reduced its quality of life. Even so, the agents who rescued him had before to throw a dart with tranquilizers to catch him safely. He was then taken to the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, near Phnom Penh.
The authorities learned of the lion’s existence through its owner’s TikTok channel. His recordings of the feline went viral on that short video social network.
Commenting on the rescue operation, a Cambodian Environment Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra stressed that Cambodian law prohibits the keeping of wild animals.
“This is a rare species that was smuggled in from abroad. Under the law, people do not have the right to raise wildlife at home, particularly rare species,” the official said, aforementioned by Reuters.
For his part, the deputy director of the Nom Pen Forest Administration, Koam Seiha, explained that according to the wildlife trafficking law, the owner can be fined between two and three times the value of the animal. “If the lion is worth $ 10,000, [su dueño] could face a fine of around $ 30,000 “, He said to the Cambodian daily Post Khmer.