Phnom Penh coalition authorities, along with NGO Wildlife Alliance confiscated a pet lion yesterday, 27 June 2021, in a raid on House #22, Street 306, Beoung Keng Kang 1, Phnom Penh.
The male lion is 18 months old and weighs 70 kg. The owner had removed the lion’s canine teeth and severely clipped his claws. Such modifications can dramatically reduce wild cats’ quality of life. After being rescued by the team, the lion was transported to the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, where he will be housed in the future in a wilderness-like enclosure and provided professional care.
The confiscation was a joint operation led by the Forestry Administration, with the participation of the Deputy Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, the Police, the Military Police, and the NGO Wildlife Alliance. Authorities were alerted about the lion after videos of the big cat in the owner’s backyard went viral. According to the operation team, Chinese nationals smuggled the lion into the country illegally from abroad.
During the raid, the Forestry Administration warned the Chinese owners that it is illegal to keep wildlife at their residences.
“The Chinese owners have been called in by the authorities to stop raising such wildlife.” said Mr. Koam Seiha, Director of Phnom Penh Forestry Cantonment.
According to the owner, the lion eats around six kilograms of meat a day. The lion is now safe and being cared for appropriately at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre (PTWRC) by the Cambodian Forestry Administration. As with every animal in their care, staff at PTWRC will ensure the lion receives everything he needs.