KARACHI: A picture of a lion cub chained in a small enclosure during an exhibition at the Expo Centre in Karachi caused an uproar on social media Friday night.
The cub was brought and paraded about in the designated area for a pet show during the ‘My Karachi - Oasis of Harmony Exhibition’, a three-day event that started on Friday.
According to the animal’s owner who also was a partner at the pet show stall, Muhammad Raheel, the lion cub is named Sultan and is fully vaccinated. He said that he possesses a mini zoo permit from the wildlife department and a no-objection certificate to keep the cub as a pet.
"It was brought for display. Friday - the first day of the exhibition - attracted thousands of people and after around two hours they put the cub in the cage as it was being difficult to manage him with lots of people around," explained Raheel. Although the animal was not on display on Saturday, the owner said they might take him to the exhibition in the evening to be put on display. He said displaying animals like Sultan promotes public awareness, as many people have not seen many birds and animals with their own eyes.
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On the other hand, Society for the Protection of Animal Rights President Zain Mustafa in a video message on social media said that lion cubs should not be domesticated. They are wild animals and they deserve to remain in the wild, he said.
"We can't take them by force from their mothers since it's their God given right to remain in natural habitat," he told The Express Tribune, criticising putting the cubs on display in the public, which needs to be discouraged.
He added that animals that are being domesticated are declawed, which is extremely cruel and needs to be discouraged rather than promoted.
The area where all the animals and birds were kept had an entrance fee of Rs30. On display were peacocks, ostriches, cranes, hens, parrots, turkeys, ducks, flamingos, tamed falcons, pythons, chinkaras, monkeys, rabbits and tortoises as well as camels and horses for riding.
The person in charge of the exhibition, Muhammad Idrees Memon, said that they have given the stall to the exhibitors after reviewing all necessary documents. "We can’t make them public right now," he said.
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According to him, the documents can be verified by the wildlife department. "It's a trained pet, not a wild animal and can be displayed. However, it won't be displayed in the upcoming days," he said.
If you have an NOC from the Sindh wildlife department you can display such animals, confirmed Naeemullah Kazi, assistant director of the department. He explained that if someone applies for an NOC to the department, they actually write to the ministry of climate change, which ultimately issues the NOC.