Cambodian authorities on Sunday confiscated a pet lion from a Chinese national after it was seen in TikTok videos being cuddled and bathed in a Phnom Penh villa. Officials stated the animal had been smuggled from China and was being raised in a villa in the capital, Phnom Penh.
The 18-month-old male, weighing 70 kilograms, had been imported from overseas by the owner to be raised in his home, environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra told. The owner had shared a photo on the app of the lion sitting in a driveway as a dog played nearby. There was also a video of it as a young cub being sprayed down with a hose. “People have no right to raise rare wildlife as pets,” Pheaktra said. “In addition, the lion’s canine teeth, as well as its claws, had been removed, drastically reducing a lion’s quality of life,” it claimed. The big cat was shown in photos released Sunday by the environment ministry lounging with a small dog as authorities prepped a crate to move it to the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in the capital. The confiscation comes a day after a Twitter user posted an aerial shot of the creature roaming around a garden in the upscale Boeung Keng Kang district of Phnom Penh.