On August 2 this year, Safari Park Zoo in Lahore announced that it was auctioning 12 African lions. The news has garnered a lot of attention, particularly from animal rights groups who have denounced the auctioning and trade of exotic animals that has plagued Pakistan over the years. The auction itself was completely legal, especially since it was held among a select group of registered lion breeders in Punjab. But just because it was legal doesn’t mean it’s right.
You see, Pakistan has a lion problem. And the problem is, it’s ridiculously easy for anyone to find and buy a lion cub on the market, raise it at home, and then keep it as a pet in cruel conditions. The system by which these lions are bought and sold is painfully simple, and no law exists to make it illegal to own these creatures that belong in the wild.
There are, of course, some official restrictions, but they are easily circumvented. Essentially, lions are bred in an official capacity by breeders registered with wildlife authorities and the FBR. These registered breeders breed and breed big cats like lions and tigers, then sell them in advance to anyone who wants to buy them.
The law of the land requires anyone purchasing these animals to adhere to a specific set of SOPs, which includes certain space for keeping the animals, and other similar conditions. In practice, while the wildlife department claims to have officers who constantly monitor lion owners, these creatures are often kept in insensitive conditions. Owners who have nothing to worry about in their care and who are afraid of the beasts remove their nails and teeth, giving them food that is not intended for them, which leads to an incredibly poor life for these animals.
How to buy a lion