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Pet Lion Roaming On Streets in Phnom Penh Ignites Debate On Animal Cruelty

 The event has sparked an internet debate over animal cruelty.

The event has sparked an internet debate over animal cruelty.

Marshall also stated in his tweets that the lion had been declawed and defanged and its current condition is "terrible".

Photos and videos of a lion prowling the Cambodian streets have gone viral on social media. The lion was reportedly roaming the streets, “seemingly unattended." Journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall published a series of tweets with photos of the lion. In his tweets, Marshall reminded followers that this is the same lion that was taken by Cambodian police when TikTok recordings of the animal at a villa in the Phnom Penh went viral. On June 27, a 70-kg lion was apprehended and taken to a rescue centre. Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the lion’s return.

Marshall tweeted, “A lion being kept as a pet at a residence in Phnom Penh by wealthy Chinese businessman Qi Xiao has been strolling on the street outside, presumably unsupervised. How long will this insanity and brutality be allowed to continue?"

In the following tweet, he posted a video of the lion strolling through the streets. According to his tweets, the lion was seized from the residence a few months ago by wildlife officials, but this sparked an outcry among Cambodian affluent youngsters who believe wealthy people should be free to do anything they want.

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Marshall also stated in his tweets that the lion had been declawed and defanged and its current condition is “terrible," but it remains a menace. Living in these conditions is also detrimental to the lion’s health. “Let’s see if the inhabitants of BKK1 still believe Qi Xiao should be allowed to retain his lion," his last Twitter thread stated.

“According to the legislation, people do not have the right to nurture animals at home, particularly endangered species,” officials told Reuters when the animal was originally taken. The lion was allegedly caught and returned to its owner. However, the event has sparked an internet debate over animal cruelty, with many criticising the owner for confining the wild animal.

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first published:August 18, 2021, 11:47 IST