A man in Pakistan was arrested by local authorities after social media videos surfaced of him driving around with his pet lion. The lion was hanging out in the back of a pickup truck as he made his way through the busy and heavily-trafficked streets of Karachi city.
Lions are not allowed to be kept in captivity except by the appropriate zoo authorities, but are used as popular pets for wealthy businessmen who purchase them and sometimes show them off publicly as a status display.
In the video, the apparently female lion hangs partially out of the back of a black pickup truck driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic in an industrial area of Karachi. Karachi is a thriving port city on Pakistan’s coast. It is the largest city in Pakistan, being home to over 9 million people and one of the largest cities in the world.
Lions are native to Africa and live in large groups called prides. They are highly territorial and defend their homelands from other prides of lions for generations. They are dangerous predators who have been known to eat men, as was the case with the Tsavo man-eaters, two lions who terrorized railway workers in Africa. It is not known how many people the Tsavo lions killed, since African natives were not included in the original death toll of 28, but revisions to include native Africans put the death toll as high as 135.
Three men are seen accompanying the Karachi lion in the back of the truck. Although the lion seems calm, it is not an appropriate city pet, or seen in an appropriate environment. Lions can exhibit uncanny strength when they feel aggressive. Toward the end of the video, one can hear police sirens while the lion yawns calmly, showing off an impressive set of teeth.
Police arrested the man, and it is not known what became of the lion. Wildlife rescue organizations around the world often end up with such animals as pets, since after being acclimated to humans, they cannot be returned to the wild. The Humane Society says that the wildlife pet trade of big cats is a threat to the well-being of the public, as well as to the animals themselves, who are often separated from their mothers within just days of birth.
[Featured Image by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images]