Case to be investigated by the Sindh Wildlife Department
A 10-year-old boy was attacked by a pet lion in Karachi’s Gulberg on Thursday.
A video of the incident, that has gone viral on social media, shows a leash tied around the animal’s neck. When the child walked past the lion, it attacked him.
The 10-year-old was immediately rushed to a hospital where he has been declared to be out of danger.
The police have arrested a security guard and a man identified as Saad. The lion’s owner is, however, on the run. He has been identified as Usama. The police are conducting raids to arrest him. A case will be registered once Usama is arrested.
“Usama is involved in the illegal trade of wild animals,” the investigating officer said. The suspect’s brother was taking the animal to his friend’s house when the incident took place.
“Usama has escaped along with the lion,” the officer added.
According to wildlife conservator Javed Mahar, the case has been taken up by the Sindh Wildlife Department. An inquiry is under way and legal action will be taken.
“Keeping a carnivore species as a pet in a residential area is a criminal act,” he tweeted. “The question that why and how big cats are available in the market so everyone can purchase has a long answer.”
Mahar pointed out that the responsibility lies upon those who have opened the way for the import of big cats. “These people ignore the very technical issue of import of fertile pairs instead of otherwise.”
The import of big cats has multiplied in thousands after permission was given by the government some 20 years ago. The conservator said that the Sindh Wildlife Protection Act 2020 addresses issues of illegal possessions related to exotic species.
According to the act, anyone keeping wild animals without a permit or licence will be sent to jail for six months. Any hurt caused to the animal, intentionally or unintentionally, is strictly prohibited. If the animals are found to be used in fighting or baiting, it will result in strict action.
This incident is an eye-opener for the members of civil society, Mahar added. If anyone wants to keep a big cat, they have to follow these chief SOPs:
>The animals have to be kept away from residential areas
>No permission for new imports