Lions Kept at Homes to Showoff

a lion cub peeks out of the window of a flat in the pechs area of karachi photo express

A lion cub peeks out of the window of a flat in the PECHS area of Karachi.

Lions and tigers while in zoos are sure to attract a great deal of attention from the public, the fascination soon turns into fear, when the growing popularity of keeping and breeding big cats in residential areas exposes citizens to an unshielded interaction with them on the roads.

In the past few years, there has been a growing trend among many affluent segments of society of keeping lions and tigers as pets at their homes as a means of flaunting their luxurious lifestyle. Similarly, quite a few businessmen have also started breeding tigers and crocodiles in private enclosures in Sindh for the purpose of boosting their commercial sales and profit generation. However, the growing popularity of the illegal practice has raised concerns among animal rights activists and wildlife experts who express their concerns for the safety of both the animals and the locals.

“Lions, tigers, and other carnivorous animals are being reared across multiple areas in Sindh however the strong involvement of political actors in this business prevents the concerned department from taking swift action against the perpetrators,” disclosed an officer from the Sindh Wildlife Department, who went on to reveal that private zoo owners had joined hands with animal trading mafias, and were breeding lions and tigers only to sell their cubs at exorbitant prices within the country and abroad.

Several posh residences, farmhouses and mini private zoos were acting as illegal breeding spaces for lions, tigers, and other carnivores, without adherence to safety regulations which included the round-the-clock availability of veterinarians and animal psychologists.

The private zoos in Karachi and around Sindh, fail to provide a suitable and safe environment to lions and other carnivores, who are kept in unsatisfactory conditions. The animals are kept in tiny cages, which are usually dark and depressing and are far away from the reach of sunlight. Moreover, these private zoo owners rarely employ veterinarians or professionals in animal behavior and psychology therefore, the incumbent animals frequently suffer from illnesses and meet an untimely death. Moreover, keeping felines like tigers in residential areas was extremely dangerous since they can attack a moving target, especially a little child, within a matter of seconds.

The recent spotting of a lion at the Shahrahe Faisal, which escaped from the car of its owner, who had been illegally keeping the feline at his residence. Mumtaz Soomro, Deputy Conservator at Sindh Wildlife said, “The department has stipulated 29 strict regulations for keeping wild cats privately. Firstly, they can only be kept at private zoos or farmhouses on the outskirts of the city and must not be brought inside heavily populated residential areas. Moreover, their cages must be spacious and clean, and they should be examined regularly by a veterinary doctor.”

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