Pet lion rescued from home in central Phnom Penh

(Update 1: Adds fresh comment from environment ministry spokesman)

Bangkok, Jun 28 (EFE).- A pet lion has been confiscated from a home in the center of the Cambodian capital after pictures of it circulated on social media, raising alarm.

The animal had been raised from a cub and is now about 18 months old and weighs 70 kilograms, animal rescue NGO Wildlife Alliance, which was involved in the raid along with Cambodian authorities, said on Twitter Sunday night.

Its canine teeth had been removed, “drastically reducing the lion’s quality of life,” it said, adding that it eats about 6 kg of meat a day, and that “the conditions at a residential home are inappropriate for a wild animal.”

The previous day, pictures posted to Twitter appeared to show the animal in the garden of a villa, reportedly situated in Boeng Keng Kang 1, in the central business district of Phnom Penh, an area dotted with embassies, hotels, restaurants, bars and shops.

“The Chinese owners have been called in by the authorities to stop raising such wildlife,” said Koam Seiha, director of Phnom Penh Prey Chey Administration, according to Wildlife Alliance.

Environment ministry spokesman Pheaktra Neth told EFE by WhatsApp on Monday that “the legal aspects of the case are now being handled by the Phnom Penh Forestry Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery.”

He added that the lion was smuggled into the country from abroad.

The lion is now being cared for by Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center about 40 kilometers outside Phnom Penh. EFE


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